Subject details

Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:

  1. Identify the nature of light and recognise that different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation require different types of telescopes and detectors
  2. Differentiate the basic principles of telescope design and compare their use
  3. Explain and summarise the principles and techniques of observational astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum
  4. Use problem solving skills to explain and synthesise solutions to problems in multiwavelength  astronomy
  5. Design and create, in a team, a telescope application time proposal, by applying communication skills and assessing relevant astronomical information
  6. Apply technical research skills to justify and interpret observational and theoretical propositions, methodologies  and professional decisions to specialist and non- specialist audiences
    • Celestial co-ordinates and time systems
    • Gamma rays to radio waves; thermal and non- thermal sources.
    • The electromagnetic spectrum; atmospheric windows
    • Photometry, filters, colour magnitudes and colour indices
    • Photomultipliers, CCD imaging
    • Optical spectroscopy, prism and grating spectroscopy; the detection of extrasolar planets
    • The eye as an optical instrument, lens systems, refracting and reflecting telescopes.
    • Principles of telescope mount and housing design, control systems.
    • Optical seeing, active and adaptive optics, laser guide stars, astronomical site selection, light pollution issues
    • Infrared astronomy: detectors, South Pole infrared astronomy and space missions
    • Principles of radio and microwave receivers
    • Radio interferometry, arrays and aperture synthesis, VLBI.
    • High-energy astronomy: design of UV, X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes and detectors
    • Neutrino astronomy, gravity wave detectors
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links

Equivalent subjects

You cannot enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SWI-HET606

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

SWI-AST80004-Exploring Stars and the Milky Way , or SWI-HET603

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject aims to provide a good understanding of electromagnetic radiation, focusing on both its emission mechanisms and its subsequent detection, with an emphasis on   telescopes and their observations.  The electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves will be covered

  • Computer Managed Tests (20%)
  • Newsgroups (30%)
  • Group Time Assignment Submission (25%)
  • Individual Time Assignment Submission (25%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject.

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