ASTR 511 (O'Connell) Lecture Notes



ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVING PROJECTS
IN CONTEXT OF ASTR 511



OBSERVING PROJECT ASTR 511 TOPICS

1. THE PROPOSAL*

Award of observing time on major astronomical facilities is a competitive process, in which proposals for observing projects are reviewed and ranked by a Time Allocation Committee (TAC).

For almost all public, national facilities, competition is tough.

    Ratio of requested to available time about 2:1 to >5:1.

A compelling proposal must be clearly, persuasively, and consisely written and must demonstrate:

  • An important/interesting problem/question

  • Technical feasibility

  • Provides definitive answer to question posed


2. OBSERVING RUN PREPARATION

Instrument documentation

Exposure estimation

Target selection: coordinates & key properties

Calibration planning, select calibrators

Finding charts

Instrument configuration files

Observing strategy & sequences


3. MAKING OBSERVATIONS

Prime & secondary targets

Calibration

On-line assessment

Assessment of sky & other interfering conditions

Documentation of observations


4. DATA REDUCTION

Removal of instrumental signatures

Correction for Earth's atmosphere, IS dust

Calibration

Conversion to fluxes, colors, positions, spectra, line strengths, etc.


5. DATA ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATION*

Extract scientifically meaningful information from reduced data

Answer the questions you posed

Place in larger context

Be alert: anything new, unexpected?


6. PUBLICATION


7. PUBLIC RELATIONS

 
            *Most challenging phases  
 

 

 

EM bands & phenomena

 

UVOIR capabilities

 

Nature of astrophysical sources

 

ROMPS & SWAGS

 

Optics

 

Available telescopes & instruments

 

Exposure Time Calculators (ETCs)

 

Sky surveys

 

Databasing

 

Detectors

    Emphasis: CCD's

 

Imaging

 

Spectroscopy

 

Flux calibration

 

Statistics of observations

 

Interactive computing

 

Image processing

 

Effects of IS dust

 

Effects of Earth's atmosphere

 

Multicolor analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Last modified August 2003 by rwo


Text copyright © 2000-2003 Robert W. O'Connell. All rights reserved. These notes are intended for the private, noncommercial use of students enrolled in Astronomy 511 at the University of Virginia.