Leiden Astronomy bachelor's courses Analyse 3NA (Fourier transforms) and Radiative Processes, knowledge of Linux/Unix and Python.
In this course you learn critical aspects of radio astronomy, allowing you to relate radio observations to the astrophysical sources they probe. We thus deal with both the electromagnetic processes in the Universe that produce radio emission, as well as the workings of the telescopes that measure this radio emission.
The course consists of presentation- and discussion sessions, complemented by written exercises and practical computer classes, where you are coached to process state-of-the-art radio interferometry data. The course covers the whole spectrum from Mega-Hertz to sub-millimetre radiation and from the cosmic dawn to galactic star formation, focusing on how to interpret data with different frequency- and spatial resolution.
In particular, the following aspects are covered:
Detection of radio waves, telescope and receiver characteristics
The workings of interferometers and their response
Data processing techniques, such as image deconvolution and self-calibration
The AGN phenomena and the brightest radio sources
Radio properties of the cold and warm interstellar medium
Special radio sources, such as pulsars and masers
Design and data flow characteristics for interferometers like LOFAR, VLBI, ALMA, SKA
Spectral line observation of molecules and HI throughout the universe
After this course you are ready to engage in scientific discussions that concern radio observations of astrophysical phenomena. You can compare how various radio telescopes and observing modes can be used optimally to investigate the astrophysical processes that generate long wavelength emission.
After this course you can:
Write a clear, concise report describing a radio-interferometric data reduction and subsequent image analysis;
Develop a data reduction process from raw radio interferometric data to science-quality images;
Write an observing proposal for an appropriate radio telescope to answer a scientific question;
Analyse quantitatively how radio interferometric concepts affect a specific scientific result;
Explain if and why certain radio image features are astrophysical or not;
Analyse to what extent signals are mutually coherent;
Identify common radio-astronomical data visualizations with their axis labels removed;
Identify the type of astrophysical object visualized in a figure;
Perform basic Fourier-analyses, such as deriving a SINC function andqualitatively predicting the telescope’s response to a small collection of elementary shapes;
Describe (the function of) common components involved in a telescope’s signal processing;
During this course, you will also learn about:
Assessing each other’s work
Giving effective feedback
Managing (Python) source code
Reproducible data analysis
Working as part of a large collaboration
Finding and reviewing relevant literature
Mode of instruction
Data processing tutorials
Data reduction and scientific reporting
A field trip to ASTRON, JIVE, LOFAR, Westerbork and Dwingeloo
Report on practical assignment in radio data processing (40% of final grade, must be submitted before Dec 15, teacher-assessed)
Several smaller assignments (10%-15% of final grade each), peer-assessed based on clear rubrics. Includes appeal-process.
There will not be a traditional final exam. Instead, you are assessed
based on various assignments. Deadlines:
Sep 27: 15%, Group report (up to 8 groups of 3+ people, chosen
randomly by teachers). Galactic hydrogen detection experiment:
instrument and experiment design (including expected
results). Peer-assessed by "design review panel" composed of
members of other teams. Teachers review and confirm grade &
Oct 11: 15%, Group report (same 8 groups of 3+ people as previous
assignment): Analysis of actual observations of Galactic hydrogen
with your own previously designed instrument. Peer-assessed by "scientific review panel" composed of members of other
teams. Teachers review and confirm grade & provide feedback.
Oct 25: 15%, Individual report. Observing proposal. Peer-assessed
by "time allocation committee" composed of other
students. Teachers review and confirm grade & provide feedback.
Nov 1,8,22,29: 15% , Pair presentation (pairs randomly chosen by
teachers). "Journal club ": pairs will present papers about
specific radio astronomical subjects. Teacher-assessed.
Dec 15: 40%, Pair report (pairs chosen by students
themselves). Data reduction and scientific interpretation of a
data set from a professional radio
All assessments will be done using rubrics published on BrightSpace.
Members of review panels that propose realistic, well justified scores and write good feedback to the authors of the work they reviewed, may
be awarded half a point bonus on top of their own report’s marks at
the teachers’ discretion.
Brightspace will be used to communicate with students and to share lecture slides, homework assignments, and any extra materials. You must enroll on uSis before the first lecture. To have access, you need a student ULCN account.
Essential Radio Astronomy (J.J. Condon, S.M. Ransom), ISBN: 9781400881161 (required, free online HTML version here)
Synthesis Imaging in Radio Astronomy (G.B. Taylor, C.L. Carilli, R.A. Perley), ISBN 1-58381-005-6 (recommended)
Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy (A.R. Thompson, J.M. Moran, G.W. Swenson Jr.), ISBN 9783319444314 (recommended, free download here)