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Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Michael Brown


This unit gives students theoretical background and practical experience in modern observational astronomy. ASP3231 students study telescope optics, spectroscopy, CCD imaging, image processing, statistics, astronomical distances, stellar evolution, extra-solar planets, neutron stars and galaxies. An observational project, including an astronomical observing session and analysis of the observations, comprises a substantial component of ASP3231.


On completion of this unit students will be able to operate an astronomical telescope; obtain CCD images of celestial objects; process and calibrate images using the techniques of research astronomy; utilise photometry to understand the nature of celestial objects; utilise spectra to measure the distances, masses and temperatures of celestial objects; utilise statistics to constrain measurements and test hypotheses; understand the operation of CCDs; understand telescope design, including telescopes operating beyond the visible wavelength range; describe and characterise the performance of astronomical spectrographs; describe the impact of the atmosphere on astronomical observations; understand how adaptive optics improves the angular resolution of astronomical images; complete a substantial observational project and written report as a member of a team.


Examination (3 hours): 40%
Laboratory: 15%
Project: 35%
Assignments: 10%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the laboratory/project component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Michael Brown

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures per week, 4 hours laboratory or project sessions per week on average (including night-time observing)


ASP2011 or PHS2011 or PHS2022