This course is now taught using Rensselaer's Learning Management System.  All relevant courseware, including lecture slides, will be available for download to students enrolled in the course at the LMS site

Topics covered in lectures include the following:

  • Radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum; the sky at many wavelengths
  • Gathering light: basics of observing the sky with the naked eye and with telescopes
  • The celestial sphere, time keeping and coordinate systems
  • Observing our Sun and Solar System from Earth; NASA missions to the planets
  • Optical Telescopes: design and operation; the effect of the atmosphere on astronomical observations; adaptive optics; astronomical observatories on Earth and in space
  • Measuring starlight: astronomical photometry and its applications to stellar and galactic astronomy
  • Astronomical imaging: from astrophotography to CCDs
  • Astronomical spectroscopy and its applications; Doppler effect; remote sensing in astronomy
  • Invisible astronomy: ultraviolet, infrared and radio observations
  • The Earth as a planet; observing Earth from space; biomarkers and the search for Earthlike planets in other solar systems
  • Remote sensing methods and applications in Earth science: the ozone hole, global warming and environmental surveillance