AY105: An Optical Astronomy Instrumentation Lab Course at Caltech

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Session 5 -- Education
Display presentation, Monday, 9, 1995, 9:20am - 6:30pm

[5.11] AY105: An Optical Astronomy Instrumentation Lab Course at Caltech

James K. McCarthy (Caltech)

This poster presents an overview of the lecture syllabus and lab experiments for a recently created course at Caltech in optical astronomy instrumentation. To be taught by the author in the spring of 1995 for the third consecutive year, the new ten-week lab course is organized around weekly experiments in radiometry, geometrical optics, aberrations and ray tracing, spectroscopy, the physics and performance of CCD detectors, CCD electronics, infrared array detectors, vacuum and cryogenic technology, and encoders and stepper motor control of instruments. Each week begins with a one-hour lecture on Mondays to give the students an appreciation for the subject material and application to astronomy of the topic for that week. The students work in pairs (or groups of three maximum) in the lab for two 3-hour lab periods, half the class Tuesday \&\ Wednesday and the other half Thursday \&\ Friday; this schedule allows students to resume work in the second lab period exactly where they left off in the first period, and makes maximum use of the two available optical bench setups. The course has been designed for an enrollment of 8--12 students. AY105 was created with funding from the National Science Foundation and matching support from the Ahmanson Foundation and from Caltech.

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