AST 460 - Experiences in Astronomical Observing, Fall 2016
Time: Tuesday 1:20-2:10pm, 3521 Sterling Hall
Office hours: Please stop by!
Course Introduction:The main goal of this course is to provide you with a basic introduction into astrophysical research. Some of the topics we will discuss include: good research practices, understanding the astronomical literature, how to write articles for professional scientific journals, how to write a project report using LaTeX, how to present your results using PowerPoint. But, we will address all these topics within a real research environment, by undertaking a small observing project with two 2.3-m radio telescopes, one on the roof of Sterling Hall and one remotely operated from Pine Bluff.
The Small Radio
Telescope is a 2.3. meter radio dish bought by the Astronomy Department
from the Haystack Observatory and installed on Sterling roof by Rick VanDer Geest and
Rick Williams. The SRT allows continuum and spectral line
observations over the frequency range 1400-1440 MHz.
2.3-m Small Radio Telescope on the roof of Sterling Hall. Credit: Rick VanDer Geest, UW Madison Astronomy
Literature:Various articles and documents will be assigned for reading. Most of them will be provided in electronic or paper form. I also envision using two short (20-30 pages) booklets by Edward R. Tufte: "The cognitive style of Powerpoint" and "Visual and statistical thinking".
- (09/06) Course introductions
- (09/13) "On Being a Scientist" (National
Academy Press): Introduction to the responsible conduct of research
AAS Ethics Statement, American Astronomical Society
STAP retracted, Nature July 2014
Truth and consequences, Couzin 2006, Science
- (09/20) Introduction to 2.3-m Sterling SRT and observing
Section II of this lab guide from MIT Physics has a short summary of the SRT main components
(09/27) Introduction to Unix and Writing SRT scripts
Introduction to Unix
- (10/4) Project intro. Radiometer equation and system temperature.
Assignment 5 from Project Intro
- (10/11) SRT Observing. IDL intro.
IDL Basics (Based on Carl Heiles' IDL tutorials)
(10/18) SRT Observing and Reading Data files
Reading SRT data in IDL
Assignment 6 (Steps 1-3)
(10/25) Data reduction: temperature and baseline calibrations
- (11/1) Data reduction: velocity corrections
Velocity correction factors
Assignment 7 (steps 1-5 completed from Assignment 6)
- (11/8) KVIS and HI4PI data set (Bekhti et al. 2016)
LDS spectra obtained in the same directions we are observing and smoothed to match the SRT angular resolution
Assignment 8 (all steps completed from Assignment 6)
- (11/15) Analyzing additional data files and finalizing spectra
LaTeX and how to write a project report, astronomical literature
- (11/29) Poster preparation for the Undergraduate Symposium 2017
- Size requirement: 43" wide, 36" high
- Constructing a poster UW Undergraduate Symposium page
- Creating effective poster presentations by Hess, Tosney, & Liegel (2006)
- Unambiguous color pallet by Okabe & Ito (2002)
- "Visual and statistical thinking: display of evidence for making decisions" by Edward Tufte
- Poster template file
Picture 1 (2010) Picture 2 (2010)
Class Poster (2015)