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Praktische Sterrenkunde


Admission requirements

Astronomy bachelor's courses Introduction to Astrophysics and Programming NA.


In this course you will perform astronomical measurements including observations, to study relevant physical processes. You will learn how to process astronomical data and how to calculate uncertainties. Subsequently, you will tackle realistic astronomical problems, using your programming knowledge and experience from the first semester of the Astronomy bachelor’s programme. You will gain hands-on experience in the practice of handling telescopes and performing astronomical observations during a visit to the Artis Planetarium in Amsterdam and working at the Old Observatory in Leiden. Based on data experiments you will write research reports about astronomical subjects covered in the first semester. For this course, it is important to organise your activities outside the classical sessions well. And in addition to collaborating in data processing, you also learn how to write a scientific report.

The course covers the following themes:

  • Error analysis and calculating measurement errors

  • Selecting astronomical data from digital files

  • Evaluating simple rules and relations in measurement data

  • Writing a report according to scientific standards

  • Working with photometric, astrometric and spectroscopic data

Course objectives

After this course, you can process astronomical measurement data within the context of astrophysical laws as introduced in the Introduction to Astrophysics course. For that, you will apply a correct error analysis and report all this in a scientific report.

After this course, you will be able to:

  • Compose compact Python code for scientific analysis

  • Perform linear least squares method and derived methods

  • Select and combine astronomical samples

  • Construct simple astronomical charts

  • Reference scientific literature

  • Apply distance modulus

  • Construct a color-magnitude plot

  • Perform and process astronomical CCD observations

  • Identify spectral lines and measure Doppler shifts

In this course, you are trained in the following soft skills:

  • Planning your work well in advance

  • Knowing when and where to ask for help

  • Collaborating with other students and to complement each other within a team

  • Writing based on facts


See Schedules bachelor Astronomy

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

  • Instruction sessions

  • Clinics

  • Observation nights and afternoons

Assessment method

Written reports. The final grade is a weighted average of the experiment reports. Reports assessed as ‘insufficient’ can be improved and handed in again; these will be assessed with a maximum grade of 6.0. Further details can be found on Brightspace

Reading list

Background texts and instructions will be made available via Brightspace.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. An exemption is the fall semester for 1st year bachelor students, the student administration will enroll this group.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer: Dr. A. (Ana) Monreal Ibero


  • Please note that this course is in English

  • In addition to the lectures planned in the schedule, availability on fixed observation nights in the period around February-April is essential. Depending on weather conditions all students perform observations in small groups during one or two nights and one or two afternoons/evenings in this period, between 17.30 and 21.30 hrs.