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Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments



This course provides the fundamental knowledge on astronomical instrumentation and covers optical elements, optical design, multi-purpose and specialized telescopes, image formation and aberrations, Fourier optics, spectrographs, imagers, filters, polarimetry, and interferometry.


Knowledge of basic optics (geometrical optics, interference, diffraction), astronomical observing techniques, computer programming.

Course objectives

Students will be able to design simple instruments on their own, will understand the operating principles of modern astronomical instruments and have an overview of existing and planned astronomical telescopes and instruments.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, computer practicum, presentations, homework

Assessment method

60% exam, 20% practicum, 10% homework, 10% presentation
First exam will be a 3-hour, written test. Repeat exams will be oral.

Reading list


  • Observational Astrophysics, 3rd edition, 2012, by Pierre Lena, published by Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-21814-9

  • Astrophysical Techniques, 5th edition, 2008, by C.R.Kitchin, published by Institute of Physics Publishing, ISBN 978-1420082432


Via uSis
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here

Course schedule

See Master schedules

More information

Lecturers: Prof.dr. C.U. Keller / Dr. M.A. Kenworthy
Assistant: Andrew Ridden-Harper


Please note that this is a mandatory course for all MSc students who follow the Astronomy & Instrumentation programme.