of Physics and Astronomy
Franklin & Marshall College
For the independent projects, each person will select and follow up on a facet of observational astronomy not already covered in the course. Aside from a ~30 min. presentation given to the class on your topic, you will also submit a paper (with references) at the end of the course. I'll have more to say about these independent projects later in the semester. We will also have (almost) weekly problem sets which will be graded, and I plan to give a midterm and final exam.
The plan is to have a variety of labs which will be closely tied to the lecture part of the course. I hope that the topics covered in the class discussions in the first part of the course will support the lab activities throughout the semester. I will have more to say to you about labs once the course starts.
Since physics plays a major role in the discussion and understanding of the topics in this course, I will make free use of physical concepts that you should have seen and become familiar with by the time you are a senior (for instance, physical optics and diffraction, to give just an example). You must be familiar with this level of physics to keep up in the course.
Come see me anytime.
I reserve the right to adjust your grade to some extent at the end of the semester to reflect effort, conscientiousness, participation, etc.
Each of these books takes a slightly different approach and has a different emphasis and coverage, but taken together they provide the necessary background for our discussion.
For the radio astronomy portion of the course, we will be using:
This book has extensive (and readable) coverage of the field and is a good resource to have handy even after the course is over.
For the last part of the course covering X-rays and gravitational waves (and for your independent projects), you will need to pay close attention to the class notes and perhaps do some digging around on your own in some of the books in the library.