Home /  Courses And Programs / Observational Astronomy 1: Observing Fundamentals, Telescopes and CCD Cameras, and Astrometry

This is the first in a series of practical observational astronomy courses that are designed to give students the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to conduct basic astronomical research and imaging projects. The course begins with topics such as astronomical coordinate systems, measuring time and distance, and describing the principles of the operation of telescopes and CCD cameras. The course then teaches students how to plan and organize an observing run at the telescope, identifies typical resources that are used for observing run planning, and gives students an opportunity to create a realistic observing run. The course concludes with a short discussion of statistics and measurement errors relevant to astronomy, how to perform CCD calibrations, and immersion into how the conduct an astrometric project to measure the motion of an asteroid.  
Course Highlights:

  • Astronomical coordinate systems
  • Astronomical time and distance
  • Lunar phases and solar eclipses
  • Telescope designs and characteristics
  • Remote telescope control via ACP Observatory Control Software
  • Introduction to writing ACP scripts for telescope and camera control
  • Overview of solar system characteristics
  • Overview of solar and stellar characteristics
  • Review of different types of basic astronomical research projects
  • Introduction to astrometry
  • Astrometric software, data reduction, and MPC reports
  • Student practice to perform astrometric data reduction and create MPC report
Course Benefits:
By the end of the quarter, students will have the skills to:
  • Control and use a remote telescope
  • Use a CCD camera to take astronomical and calibration images
  • Understand the content of astronomical images
  • Plan an astronomical observing run
  • Independently conduct basic astrometric observations and data reduction.
For more information about this program, please contact the program manager at unex-techdata@ucsd.edu or 858-534-9352.


Course Number: PHYS-40001
Credit: 3.00 unit(s)

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