Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Physics
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Michael Brown


This unit gives students theoretical background and practical experience in modern observational astronomy. ASP3231 students study telescope optics, spectroscopy, CCD imaging, image processing, statistics, astronomical distances, stellar evolution, extra-solar planets, neutron stars and galaxies. An observational project, including an astronomical observing session and analysis of the observations, comprises a substantial component of ASP3231.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain and understand concepts taught in the unit, including astronomical instrumentation, data processing, photometry and spectroscopy;

  1. Describe how we observe celestial objects across the electromagnetic spectrum and how these observations are used to understand the nature of celestial objects;

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of astronomical instrumentation and observations, including angular resolution, spectroscopic resolution and photometric precision;

  1. Apply their knowledge to execute an observing program and use astronomical imaging to understand the nature of a celestial object;

  1. Present and communicate the results of an astronomical observing program.


Examination (2 hours): 40%
Laboratory: 15%
Project: 35%
Assignments: 10%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the laboratory/project component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures per week, 4 hours laboratory or project sessions per week on average (including night-time observing)