First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC03119283, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1173, Degree course structure A.Y. 2010/11, A.Y. 2017/18
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Degree course track ASTRONOMIA [001PD]
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination LABORATORY OF ASTROPHYSICS 1
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Physics and Astronomy
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ROBERTO RAGAZZONI

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses FIS/05 Astronomy and Astrophysics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 2.0 32 18.0 No turn
Lecture 4.0 32 68.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
6 Commissione Laboratorio di Astrofisica 1 17-18 01/10/2017 30/09/2018 RAGAZZONI ROBERTO (Presidente)
MAGRIN DEMETRIO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Physic and Astronomy at the level of the Bachelor Degree in Astronomy.
Target skills and knowledge: The aim of the course is to give an overview of the basic concepts and of the principal technological developments needed to achieve state of the art telescopes and astronomical instrumentation (both on ground and in space) with a strong focus on the domain of infrared and visible wavelengths.
Examination methods: Oral exam about the topics discussed in the lectures.
Assessment criteria: The student must be able 1) to solve a simple ray-tracing problem by using differential knowledge; 2) to write down relationships explaing their menaing on the way wavefront sensing is achieved on the main kind of wavefront sensor; 3) to explain qualitatively the behaviour of low level light detectors mainly used in astronomy.
Course unit contents: 1) Basic principles of optics and image formation: Nature of light and geometrical nature of thin lenses and of conical sections. Concept of stigmatic and non stigmatic imaging. Optical copies and Lagrange invariant. Relevance of the position and size of the stop in an optical system and its effects on the overall property.
2) Two mirrors telescope: Schwarzschild, Cassegrain, Gregorian and Ritchey-Chretienne solutions. The problem of the background in astronomical imaging and in particular in the infrared. Definition of the thermal and non-thermal infrared portion of the spectra. Vignetting and field of view in Cassegrain telescopes. Difference between images formed by parabolic and spherical mirrors and the case of Arecibo-like design. Examples of telescopes and instrumentation employing the various concepts devised.
3) Adaptive and active optics. Basic definitions, Kolmogorov turbulence and isoplanatic angle, Fried’s parameter and Greenwood frequency. Deformable mirrors and wavefront sensors in open and closed loop operations. Tip-tilt four quadrants sensing and Poissonian nature of photons effect on them. High order aberrations and Hamilton, Zernike and Karhunen-Loeve modes. Shack-Hartman and pyramid wavefront sensors. Concept of multi-conjugated adaptive optics. Star and Layer Oriented approaches. Adaptive optics with multiple field of views.
4) Detectors: Charge Coupled Devices Detectors, principles of working and basic parameters. Quantum efficiency, charge transfer efficiency, read out noise. CCD principle of working and effects on the Poissonian apparent noise. Concept of the avalanche photo diodes and quenching.
5) Experiments in the optical laboratory: Poisson’s spot, turbulence simulation and speckle formations.
6) Observations at the Asiago Astronomical Observatory: Speckle interferometry.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures at the blackboard and with computer presentations. Optical experiments to be carried out in the laboratory. Overnight at the Asiago telescope to test on the sky one or two experiments previosuly carried out in the lab. Lectures are in Italian.
Additional notes about suggested reading: PowerPoint presentations of the lectures are made available to the students. Textbook.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Daniel J Schroeder, Astronomical Optics. San Diego: Academic Press, 2000. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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