• Offered by Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Michael Ireland
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course is offered as part of the Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced) program.  It is designed to introduce students to the concept of astronomical observations.  Through this course they will gain familiarity with many of the key techniques involved in planning observations, analyzing the resulting data, and producing realistic interpretations using appropriate statistical arguments.  This course aims to provide useful reference information in a lecture format but to reinforce practical skills with both group and individual activities. 

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will:

1. Be able to write a successful observing proposal, demonstrating both a compelling science justification and a thorough technical justification.
2. Be able to reduce multiple types of astronomical data (including optical, infrared and radio data) and analyze the outputs, forming valid scientific conclusions.
3. Be able to investigate the effects of noise propagation in astronomical data and analyse the effect of noise on measurement uncertainties.
4. Be able to evaluate the scientific benefits of various types of astronomical observations (such as radio, infrared, optical, X-ray and gamma-ray), utilize the features of different observational programs and assess their technical requirements.
5. Be able to produce realistic interpretations of data obtained in different wavebands.

Indicative Assessment

2 homework assignments addressing basic skills (astronomical web queries, noise propagation) totaling 15%
4 computing projects involving data reduction techniques, estimation of noise, and scientific analysis totaling 55%
One 3-part observing proposal totaling 30%

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


12 weeks of 10 hours per week consisting of 4 hours of lectures and tutorials and 6 hours of work on assignments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in the course you must be currently enrolled in the Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced).

Assumed Knowledge

Bachelor of Science or equivalent with a major in physics or mathematics with relevant experience or academic achievement. Students will be aided by a familiarity with simple programming skills, to be improved in this course and the Astronomical Computing course.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
4092 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person

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