Academic Year 2016/2017 - 1° Year - Curriculum ASTROFISICA
Teaching Staff: Francesco LEONE
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: FIS/01 - Experimental physics
Taught classes: 28 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, the student is expected to be familiar with the standard and modern instrumentation in astrophysics.

Students will be able to carry out photometric observations in the visible at the Catania Astrophysical Observatory on Mount Etna and radio observations with the 32 m radio telescope of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Noto.

Knowledge of standard analysis and reduction of astronomical data under Linux operative system.

Detailed Course Content


The operative system LINUX, Interactive Data Language, Latex.

The electromagnetic radiation. Stokes parameters.

The Earth atmosphere: absorption and emission spectrum

Stellar spectra,: Spectral types and Luminosity classes

Fourier Transforms, Convolutions



Telescopes: optics, aberrations, configurations, montings.

Telescopes for visible, X-ray, ultraviolet, infrared and radio.



Signals, analogic signals, sampling and digitalisation, Nyquist theorem.

General properties: dark current, reading noise and background noise.

Detectors for visible light: hystory: photographic plates and photomultipliers. Bolometers. CCD.

Detectors for radio and microwaves: recivers

Detectors for X and gamma rays.

Detectors for cosmic rays and neutrinos.


Observational methods:


Optics for imaging.

Photometric systems.

Background: sky, Moon, solar system, Galaxy

Experience at the Telescopes of the INAF-Catania Astrophysical Observatory on mount Etna.

Data reduction with IRAF.


Spectrographs. Theory. Configurations and properties.

Experience at the Telescope. Data reduction with IRAF.

Experience in the optical lab: allignement of a spectrograph on an optical bench.


Principles of polarimetry, methods in Astrophysics.

Experience at the Telescopes of the INAF-Catania Astrophysical Observatory on mount Etna.


Experience at the Noto Radio Telescopes of the INAF-Institute of Radio Astronomy.

Textbook Information

Gray D.F., The observation and analysis of stellar spectra – Cambridge Astrophysics Series
Kitchin C.R., Astrophysical Techniques - Publisher Institute of Physics Publishing
Mihalas D., - Stellar Atmospheres. -San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Company