PHYS 2070

Course Description
This course provides students with background and experience in research methods and skills related to observational astronomy. The student selects their own target object, e.g. nebula or galaxy, to observe. They carry out the data acquisition using the 40 cm optical telescopes at the Glenlea Astronomical Observatory (GAO) and Ewen Campus Observatory (ECO) then process and analyze these data. They present their research results, along with a literature search, as an oral presentation to colleagues and on the web to a public audience.

See some previous projects from former students.

Research Skills
Keeping logbooks; naked-eye observations; telescope operation and observatory management; observatory safety; using computer resources and image processing skills; information literacy; error recognition and analysis; oral and web-based presentation skills

Basic Astronomical Concepts
Nomenclature, coordinate systems, time, telescopes and CCD detectors in optical astronomy; magnitudes and colours; observable properties of astronomical objects; physical properties of astronomical objects

Textbook and Other Required Materials
Observer’s Handbook, published by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the appropriate calendar years
Bound, hard cover logbook
Flashlight with red filter

Supplemental/Optional Texts
To Measure the Sky, Frederick R. Chromey
Observing the Universe, Edited by Andrew J. Norton
Observational Astronomy, 2nd Edition, D. Scott Birney, Guillermo Gonzalez, David Oesper
Digital Image Processing, 2nd Ed., Gonzalez and Woods
Introductory Astronomy & Astrophyics, 4th Ed., Zeilik & Gregory

Planetarium type software program such as Stellarium or Starry Night
Image processing and visualization software ImageJ and DS9