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"Radio Astronomy" MSc course at U. Amsterdam

Submitter: Joeri van Leeuwen, Mike Wise & Jason Hessels
Description: Given the importance of training future astronomers in both the science and techniques involved in radio astronomy, three ASTRON staff astronomers (Hessels, van Leeuwen and Wise) are teaching the Masters course "Radio Astronomy" at the University of Amsterdam this year.

The intensive course (worth 6 EC) started a few weeks ago and runs through April and May. The 12 lectures first describe the various science topics in which progress is made through radio. The various emission, absorption and propagation processes are treated -- as these can be quite different from those encountered at infrared, optical and higher frequencies. The full range of astronomical objects producing observable radio emission are next discussed: the Sun, planets, exoplanets and SETI; stars and pulsars; HI clouds, HII regions, supernova remnants; neutral hydrogen and spiral galaxies; active galactic nuclei, radio galaxies, quasars; and the CMB.

In the labs, the students are currently each writing an observing proposal for a topic and radio telescope of choice -- potentially resulting in actual telescope time (e.g., this paper in MNRAS was the result from a similar course by JvL at UBC). After a series of hands-on labs on LOFAR, Parkes and WSRT data, including "cookbook" imaging of LOFAR MSSS data on CEP1, and solving pulsar timing solutions for a relativistic binary, the students finalize their proposals with a full Technical Justification. They next present their project, and are graded. A written exam completes the final mark.

On May 2 this class of about a dozen young astronomers will visit WSRT and LOFAR; hopefully on their way toward becoming our future radio telescope users.
Copyright: ASTRON/UvA
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