This module will discuss the theory behind radio telescopes and their use in modern astronomy. The module will begin by discussing the processes of detecting microwaves and radio waves, and the challenge that these forms of observations encounter. The physics behind the design of radio telescopes will be explored with particular reference to current radio telescopes and interferometers. With the knowledge of how observations in this region of the electromagnetic spectrum are made, the module will discuss the astronomical objects and phenomena which are observed at by these instruments. Particular attention will be given to the cosmic microwave background, radio galaxies and pulsars.
Module learning outcomes
At the conclusion of the module students will be able to:
Understand the physics which describes the fundamentals of electromagnetic wave propagation
Understand the physics which underpins the construction of microwave and radio telescopes and perform calculations related to these concepts
Discuss the difficulties faced by astronomers making observations in each of these regions and how they may be overcome
Understand the concept of the Fourier transform and its application in astronomy
Analyse and understand the design of radio telescopes
Understand the technique of interferometry and its application in observational astronomy
Discuss the observation of cosmic microwave background and understand its origin
Discuss observations of stars, galaxies and pulsars in the radio region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.
The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.
Burke, B. F.: An introduction to Radio Astronomy, Cambridge University Press, 2014
Lashley, J.: The Radio Sky and How to Observe It, Springer, 2010
Fleisch, D.: A Student’s Guide to Maxwell’s Equations, Cambridge University Press, 2008
James, J.F.: A Student’s Guide to the Fourier Transform, Cambridge University Press, 2011