Undergraduate Course • Fall 2016

In this course, students undertake several inquiry-based lab experiments to acquire the bases of observational optical astronomy. The experiments, which build on theoretical knowledge obtained in previous classes and include the measurement of the Earth-Sun distance and the detection of an extrasolar planet, provide the students with a first introduction to the methodology of professional research. The skills that are emphasized and developed in the course include data acquisition and processing, thorough error analysis and the underlying statistics, as well as high-quality report writing, weekly show-and-tell discussions and group work. In addition to using a broad diversity of instrumental approaches (photon counting, photometry, spectroscopy, including with the 30-inch optical telescope at Leuschner Observatory), the students will also develop their computing skills in the Python language for all data analysis and learn the latex environment for professional report writing.