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Astronomical and Gravitational-Wave Instrumentation

Credit 0.125 EFTSL
ICRAR Node University of Western Australia
Unit Code Enrol at UWA in PHYS4020
Offering Semester 1
Content This unit covers technical material relating to the hardware and instrumentation that makes up astronomical telescopes, operating across the breath of the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond, as well as ground and space based gravitational wave detectors. The unit will provide a solid foundation to help astronomy students understand the instruments they will be observing with, and provide engineering students with some knowledge of potential familiar technology outside traditional engineering disciplines. The unit comprises lectures, research laboratory visits, and laboratory projects.
Learning Outcomes
  1. After studying the presentations and reading suggestions of the first half of the course, the student can explain the principles of radio and optical astronomical instrumentation (Quiz 1)
  2. After gaining practical experience by working with radio and optical astronomical instrumentation, the student can write a mock paper to report on the work done in the lab sessions (Lab Report 1)
  3. After studying the presentations and reading suggestions of the second half of the course, the student can explain the principles of gravitational wave detection and calculate the strain sensitivity of a shot- noise limited Michelson interferometer (Quiz 2)
  4. After gaining practical experience by performing finite element modelling, the student can write a mock paper to report on the work done in the lab sessions (Lab Report 1)
  5. Apply the newly gained knowledge and experience to conduct independent literature research in a specific specialised topic across the range of astronomical and gravitational wave detector instrumentation. The outcome of this research is presented and students are expected to answer question on the presented work. (Oral Presentation).
Assessment Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows:

  1. two quizzes (30%)
  2. lab reports (40%)
  3. oral presentation (30%).

Further information will be  available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.

Unit Coordinator(s)
  1. Astronomical Instrumentation: Sascha Schediwy
  2. Gravitational Wave Instrumentation: Joris van Heijningen