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Online Course

The Radio Sky I: Science and Observations

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne via edX

Overview

The serendipitous and unexpected discovery of radio emission from celestial objects opened up the possibility of studying a new and exciting view of the universe beyond the visible spectrum. Astronomers have been studying the cosmos in visible light since ancient Greece, but it is only in comparatively modern times that the universe beyond the visible spectrum has become accessible to us.

In this course you will learn about the most important objects that emit in the radio regime, both within and beyond our own galaxy. Covering topics from the birth and death of stars to the detection of Gravitational waves you will learn how radio observations contribute to a richer understanding of the universe we inhabit. This course also introduces the basics of radio detectors and the technologies we use to observe at radio wavelengths.

Syllabus

Week 1: An historical perspective of radio astronomy, followed by the description of the main objects in the universe that can be observed at radio wavelength.

Week 2: The basics of photon properties and propagation. Black-body emission and radiation transport.

Week 3: Description of the photon spectrum: continuum production and line physics.

Week 4: Basics of detection of photons. Detectors across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Week 5: The main objects that can be detected in the Universe at radio wavelength - first part.

Week 6: The main objects that can be detected in the Universe at radio wavelength - second part.

Taught by

Vasileios ANGELOPOULOS, Frédéric Courbin, Griffin FOSTER, Jean-Paul KNEIB, Sphesihle MAKHATHINI, Kim MCALPINE and Oleg SMIRNOV

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