First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP9086379, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC2490, Degree course structure A.Y. 2019/20, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ASTROPHYSICS LABORATORY 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/01 Experimental Physics 6.0

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

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2019 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Physics and Astronomy.

Important Notice:
We call attention that the compulsory course Astrophysics Laboratory 1 is split into two channels. Students must choose one of the two options according to their preference (not depending on any alphabetic criterion).
Please refer to the detailed syllabus to guide your choice.
The program described herebelow refers to one of the two possible channels.
Target skills and knowledge: The aim of the course is to give an overview of the basic concepts and of the principal technological development needed to achieve state of the art telescopes and astronomical instrumentation (both on ground and in space) with a strong focus on the infrared to visible wavelength domain.
Examination methods: Oral exam about the topics discussed in the lectures.
Assessment criteria: The student is asked to use the correct terminology, know the full program of the lectures, be able to critically link the different topics discussed during lectures, experiments in optical laboratory, and observations at the telescope.
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 observations at the Asiago Astronomical Observatory to test some of experiments previously carried out in the laboratory.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Lectures notes of the teachers and relevant scientific papers available through the Moodle website of the course on the e-learning platform of the Department of Physics and Astronomy "G. Galilei" (
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)