Radio astronomy has a special place in modern astrophysics. It yields an unobscured view of the structure of our own Milky Way and other galaxies. It shows us a very diverse range of both thermal and non-thermal phenomena and objects. It uniquely probes magnetic fields across interstellar and intergalactic space. It reveals the distribution of dark matter in galaxies via observations of neutral hydrogen, the most abundant element in the Universe. Finally, it provides the only way to study the very earliest epochs of the Universe, by measurements of the cosmic microwave background and by studying the large-scale distribution of neutral hydrogen during the so-called dark ages and the epoch of reionisation, when stars began to shine for the first time, and active galaxies were forming.
This course provides an introduction to the tools, techniques, and science of radio astronomy. The discussion includes: fundamentals and early history of measuring cosmic radio signals, the basic properties of antennas and receivers, practical aspects of radio interferometery (incl. calibration and imaging techniques), overview of existing facilities and next generation radio telescopes (e.g. LOFAR), specific science topics inlcude – sub-mm galaxies at high-z, the CMB and Epoch of Reionisation studies and SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence).
The course includes 1 practical session when students get a chance to make radio images from real interferometry data under close supervision. The course concludes with a all-expenses paid field trip to ASTRON and the LOFAR and WSRT radio telescopes located in Drenthe!
Lectures & two “hands-on” practical data analysis sessions, plus field trip to visit ASTRON and the LOFAR & WSRT Telescopes.
Form of examination
Oral, by appointment.
Some background on basic interferometry is useful but not mandatory
See the course website