Bachelor course on Astronomical Observing Techniques
Basic knowledge of solid state physics
For Part b of this course, successful completion of the Astronomy master's course Detection of Light part a is required.
Part a of this course is aimed at observational astronomers in general, to provide a solid knowledge basis on the generation of their observational data.
In this course you will learn how we detect electromagnetic radiation from the closest planets to the most distant galaxies in the Universe. The course consists of a series of weekly lectures. These will be interspersed with homework, and on at least two occasions, computer practicums, that will reinforce and demonstrate the physical principles involved with the detection of light. There will be an exam at the end of the semester that will form part of the final grade.
In the course we will cover the following topics:
Introduction to Solid State physics
Superconducting detectors, including SQUID, MKIDs devices
Sources of noise generation and characteristics
Imaging detector artifacts
Conversion of detected photons into digital signals
Part b will expand this course to cover the following recent detector technologies:
Microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs)
Transition edge sensors (TES)
Detection of high energy photons
In addition, the course covers the uncertainty principle in photon detection as well as the development, testing and characterization of infrared (IR) detectors. The emphasis of part b is on applications and technical realization.
The main objective of this course is that you will be able to:
Mention the three different physical principles for detecting electromagnetic radiation from astronomical sources.
Calculate the dominant sources of noise for each of the different detectors and assess their impact on the signal to noise for a given astrophysical target.
Apply the correct mitigation algorithms to the different artifacts present in imaging arrays.
Describe how detected photons are converted into digital measurements.
Assess which detector and detection methods are best for a given type of astrophysical observation.
In this course, you will be trained to:
Master a new field (astrophysical detectors)
Communicate with your fellow students to understand the homeworks and practicums
Analyze the different detector systems and make an informed decision
Work together in a team
Manage your time to hand in practicums and homeworks
Mode of instruction
- Lectures given by guest lecturers, most of them from outside Leiden University
Weekly homework assignments (mandatory and accounting for 20% of final grade)
Written exam - closed book with formula sheet provided (80%: ~50% calculations, ~30% qualitative explanations, ~20% multiple choice questions), see the Astronomy master examination schedules
The re-take exam will be an oral exam. In this case, the homework assignments still account to the final grade for 20%.
Mandatory attendance of the guest lectures
Literature study related to one of the topical guest lectures, to be completed within six weeks after the topic has been chosen. Grading will be according to the classification insufficient/sufficient/good. If the literature report (part b) is graded ‘insufficient’ the student will be offered to resubmit an improved version of the report within two weeks. In this case, the grade of the resubmitted report cannot be higher than 6.0.
Blackboard is not used for this course.
Detection of Light – from the Ultraviolet to the Submillimeter, by George Rieke, 2nd Edition, 2003, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-01710-6.