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Astronomy Lab and Observing Project


Admission requirements

The course Praktische Sterrenkunde must be completed. Participation in the La Palma trip is only open to students who have obtained their first-year diploma (propedeuse) within one year.


The Astronomy Lab and Observing Project will introduce students to the practical aspects of observational astronomy. The course consists of three main parts with the most important being the definition, execution and analysis of observations with the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) on La Palma. The other two parts will introduce students to the handling of telescope images and the identification and analysis of objects and to the fitting of models to observational data. Each part is introduced in a lecture and carried out with the supervision of the assistants during practical classes using computers running Linux.

Course objectives

The course has several goals which together aim to prepare students for future practical research and provide valuable lessons for all astronomical research. The main goals are:

  • The preparation, execution and analysis of astronomical observations with a professional telescope.

  • Practical error analysis.

  • The fitting of models to data, for instance using the weighted chi-square fit.


See BSc schedules.

Mode of instruction

Practical classes. The instructor will introduce the broad topics of each of the three parts of the course and the work is then done both in practical classes and at home. As part of the course an observing trip to La Palma (one of the Canary Islands) is organised. Participation in this trip is optional and limited to students having obtained their first-year diploma (propedeuse) within one year.

Assessment method

The course is divided in three parts that count equally. The first two parts of the course is done on the basis of an obligatory report and the observing project is evaluated on the basis of the quality of the observing proposal, the preparation and execution of observations at the telescope and the final presentation of results in the form of a poster.

Assessment and grading method:

  • Homework assignments (written scientific report)

  • Presentation (in the form of a poster)

The final grade is the average of the grade of the three sub-components to the course.


Lecture notes, additional readings and assignments will be provided on Blackboard. To have access, you need an ULCN account. More information:

Reading list

The necessary background material will be handed out during the course.


Via uSis
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Lecturer: Dr. Jarle Brinchmann
Assistants: Sebastiaan Haffert, Christos Georgiou, Rehmann