Scientific astronomical observing excursion 2023

Liebe Studierende!

Unser neuer Professor am Institut der Astro- und Teilchenphysik, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Phys. Dr. Tim Richard Walter Schrabback, plant derzeit eine neue Lehveranstaltung im Sommersemester einzuführen, die EU Scientific astronomical observing excursion (for Master and PhD students)welche aller Voraussicht nach mit 3 ECTS-AP honoriert wird. Die Voranmeldung ist bereits jetzt möglich! Prof. Schrabback möchte bereits jetzt nachfolgenden Infotext mit uns teilen:

During this excursion we will visit one of the major European astronomical observatories located in Spain. This will either be the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma or the Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory in Andalusia (this should become clear around the end of October / early November).

The students will learn about different telescopes at the observatory, their instrumentation, and example scientific use cases of these instruments. Weather permitting the students will also conduct supervised scientific observations and corresponding calibration measurements at a professional telescope at the observatory for a specific scientific program. The students will conduct quick-look data analyses for quality monitoring followed by a more in-depth analysis of the obtained data. In the case of poor weather other data sets will be analyzed.

An earlier preparatory block lecture will summarize relevant topics, e.g. regarding astronomical data acquisition, observing runs, observing proposals, observing conditions, data reduction, and the planned observing program. It is also anticipated that each student will give a short presentation as part of the further preparation, e.g. providing an introduction to one of the visited telescopes or instruments. Including travel the excursion will approximately take 7 days. Most likely the excursion will either be in February or in July, after the exams have finished.

Local costs at the observatory will be covered by the university. The students should cover their flight/travel costs themselves. Suggestions for how to minimize these costs will be discussed in an introduction session in early October (200-300 EUR should likely be possible). It is recommended that interested students sign up now to facilitate the planning. A definitive commitment of the students is only necessary after the definitive target of the excursion is clear.

Prerequisites: Astronomical/astrophysical introduction lectures at the Bachelor level. Additionally, it is recommended that the participating students already have general knowledge regarding astronomical instrumentation and at least basic astronomical observing experience. Accordingly, in case of an oversubscription of the course, preference will be given to students who have already taken (or are currently taking) the course Astrophysics 2 and the Advanced Laboratory Class employing the Innsbruck 60cm telescope. Students should indicate such or similar experience when signing up for the excursion.

In 2016 I had the opportunity to organize an observing excursion to La Palma for students from my observational astronomy course at Bonn university. Two of the students kindly provided a short report on it. Maybe this is interesting to get an approximate impression of such an excursion. Of course there will be differences, in particular the Bonn students did not get extra ETCS credit for the excursion but only did this out of interest.

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