Astronomy Laboratory: Course Description

This course is designed to give students hands-on experience operating telescopes, obtaining and analyzing data for a special project of the student's choosing, and presenting the results of the project both orally and as a webpage. The course lectures will introduce students to the motions of stars and planets in the night sky, describe the coordinate systems, telescopes and instruments that astronomers use, and show how such data are analyzed. Three main labs and ~4 small assignments in addition to the final project comprise the grades for the class.

The first lab introduces students to the basics of telescope operation, while the second and third labs involve analyzing images and spectra with IRAF (a software packages devised by the National Observatories and the Space Telescope Science Institute) and IDL (a commercial software package that is used by many astronomers and astronomical satellite missions). Special projects combine the skills learned in the first two labs, and make use of the on-campus observatory

A more complete course description including the detailed syllabus for the semester is available here