FY3215 - Observational Astrophysics


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Aggregate score
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Astro Labs 20/100
Observing Project 30/100
Written exam 50/100 4 hours C

Course content

The goal of the course is to familiarize the students with the instruments, methods and techniques used in modern observational astrophysics.

In the first part of the course, we introduce the basic tools and concepts needed to observe the Universe from the Earth. We review different types of telescopes used to collect light throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, both from space and from the ground. We present detectors designed to precisely measure different properties of the collected photons (time of arrival, energy / frequency / wavelength and angular position in the sky). We then review the main astronomical techniques used to extract such information, with the final goal of determining physical parameters of planets, stars and galaxies.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: Upon successful completion of this course, students should understand the different time and coordinate systems used in astronomy, and learn how the main telescopes and detectors work across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Skills: The students should develop data analysis skills applied to astronomical observations. They should master optical photometric and spectroscopic techniques, as well as Fourier techniques applied to astronomical time series.

General Competence: The students should learn how to understand and interpret real data from astronomical sources. They should also learn how to design, develop and present a research project working in a team.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and problem sessions. Data analysis (Astro-LAB) sessions. Observation project.

Further on evaluation

Delvurdering: Written exam (50%), project (30%) and lab (20%). When lectures are given English, the exam will be given in English only. The re-sit examination (in August) may be changed from written to oral.

Course materials

Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations. H. Bradt, Cambridge University Press (2003). Astrophysical Techniques. CR Kitchin, Institute of Physics Publishing (2003).

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Astrophysics
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Physics


Examination arrangement: Aggregate score

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Written exam 50/100 C INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Observing Project 30/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Astro Labs 20/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Summer UTS Written exam 50/100 C INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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