- Class Number 3313
- Term Code 3130
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Christopher Lidman
- Dr Christopher Lidman
- Dr Rob Sharp
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 22/02/2021
- Class End Date 28/05/2021
- Census Date 31/03/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Be able to write a successful observing proposal, demonstrating both a compelling science justification and a thorough technical justification.
- Be able to reduce multiple types of astronomical data (including optical, infrared and radio data) and analyze the outputs, forming valid scientific conclusions.
- Be able to investigate the effects of noise propagation in astronomical data and analyse the effect of noise on measurement uncertainties.
- 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.
- Be able to produce realistic interpretations of data obtained in different wavebands.
"Essential Radio Astronomy" by Condom & Random available for free online at: https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/courses/era
“Electronic imaging in Astronomy - Detectors & Instrumentation” by McLean I.S.
Recommended student system requirements
ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:
- video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
- two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
- email and other messaging tools for communication
- interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
- print and photo/scan for handwritten work
- home-based assessment.
To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:
- A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
- Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
- Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
- Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
- Printing, and photo/scanning equipment
For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements
Staff FeedbackStudents will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written comments
- Verbal comments
- Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
Student FeedbackANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Session 1 Fundamentals of light, optical telescopes, instruments detectors and imaging observations||Assessment 1 and Assessment 2|
|2||Session 2 Fundamentals of radio telescopes||No formal assignment, but some in-class questions|
|3||Session 3 Fundamentals of Spectroscopy||Assessment 3|
|4||Session 4 Adaptive optics||No formal assignment, but some in-class questions|
|5||Session 5 Observing Proposal||Assessment 4|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Exposure Time Calculator||20 %||01/04/2021||26/04/2021||1,3,4|
|Process a NIR imaging data set.||20 %||23/04/2021||06/05/2021||2,3,4,5|
|Characterisation of the ANU 2.3 meter telescope WiFeS spectrograph||20 %||14/05/2021||27/05/2021||2,3,4,5|
|Observing Proposal||30 %||24/05/2021||28/05/2021||1,3,4,5|
|Weekly quizzes/quick questions||10 %||*||*||1,2,3,4,5|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
PoliciesANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
Assessment RequirementsThe ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.
Moderation of AssessmentMarks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will also be available.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4
Exposure Time Calculator
This assignment will create an Exposure Time Calculator for a near-IR instrument on a hypothetical 8.2m telescope
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5
Process a NIR imaging data set.
Students will download near-IR imaging data obtained with the HAWK-I instrument on the ESO VLT from the ESO archive, and process the data using the ESO pipeline. The students will then count the number of sources in the image and compare to published results.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5
Characterisation of the ANU 2.3 meter telescope WiFeS spectrograph
In this assignment we will explore what fundamental calibrations steps are required in order to take raw camera data from the ANU 2.3 meter telescope “WiFeS” spectrograph and convert it into scientifically interesting data suitable for analysis.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5
You will have all semester to prepare an observing proposal for a telescope facility. Observing proposals will consist of four parts: (A) Cover sheet [1 page], including the investigators information and the abstract of the proposal, (B) Scientific Justification [2 pages], (C) Technical Requirements [1 page], (D) Target list, including name, coordinates and relevant magnitudes/fluxes. Part of the assessment will be from an in-class mock time allocation committee held during the final week of the semester.
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Weekly quizzes/quick questions
Each week there will be a few quick questions that students will need to answer by the following week.
Due: each week
Returned: the following week
Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.
Academic IntegrityAcademic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.
Online SubmissionThe 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.
Hardcopy SubmissionFor some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.
Referencing RequirementsAccepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Extensions and PenaltiesExtensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Distribution of grades policyAcademic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for studentsThe University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
Observational cosmology, transients
Dr Christopher Lidman
Dr Christopher Lidman