AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery

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Description

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About this course: "How do they know that?" Modern astronomy has made some astonishing discoveries - how stars burn and how black holes form; galaxies from the edge of the universe and killer rocks right next door; where the elements come from and how the expanding universe is accelerating. But how do we know all that? The truth is that astronomy would be impossible without technology, and every advance in astronomy is really an advance in technology. But the technology by itself is not enough. We have to apply it critically with a knowledge of physics to unlock the secrets of the Universe. Each week we will cover a different aspect of Astronomical technology, matching each piece of tec…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Astronomy, Science, Astrophysics, Software / System Engineering, and English (FCE / CAE / CPE).

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: "How do they know that?" Modern astronomy has made some astonishing discoveries - how stars burn and how black holes form; galaxies from the edge of the universe and killer rocks right next door; where the elements come from and how the expanding universe is accelerating. But how do we know all that? The truth is that astronomy would be impossible without technology, and every advance in astronomy is really an advance in technology. But the technology by itself is not enough. We have to apply it critically with a knowledge of physics to unlock the secrets of the Universe. Each week we will cover a different aspect of Astronomical technology, matching each piece of technology to a highlight science result. We will explain how the technology works, how it has allowed us to collect astronomical data, and, with some basic physics, how we interpret the data to make scientific discoveries. The class will consist of video lectures, weekly quizzes, and discussion forums. Each week there will be five videos, totalling approximately 40 minutes. They will be in a regular pattern - a short introduction, an example science story, an explanation of the key technology area, a look at how the technology is used in practice, and finally a look at what the future may hold.

Who is this class for: Everybody! No background required. Some knowledge of physics will help you to get more out of the course, but its not essential.

Created by:  The University of Edinburgh
  • Taught by:  Andy Lawrence

    Physics and Astronomy
  • Taught by:  Catherine Heymans

    Physics and Astronomy
Level Beginner Commitment Six weeks of study, requiring roughly 2 hours per week. Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.7 stars Average User Rating 4.7See what learners said Trabajo del curso

Cada curso es como un libro de texto interactivo, con videos pregrabados, cuestionarios y proyectos.

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Syllabus


WEEK 1


Science and Technology
Introducing the themes of the course, and a first look at the science and technology we will study.


4 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week 1
  2. Video: W1 Part 1 - Our Knowledge of the Universe
  3. Video: W1 Part 2 - Revolutions in Astronomy
  4. Video: W1 Part 3 - Why Astronomy is Hard
  5. Video: W1 Part 4 - The Horse and Cart
  6. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 1

Graded: Week 1 quiz

WEEK 2


Telescopes and Stars
How telescopes work, how we use them to make images in different colours, and how we use those measurements to understand how stars work.


5 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week 2
  2. Video: W2 Part 1 - Picturing the Universe
  3. Video: W2 Part 2 - The Sun - is every star like it?
  4. Video: W2 Part 3 - How Telescopes Work
  5. Video: W2 Part 4 - We are Stardust
  6. Video: W2 Part 5 - Even Bigger Telescopes?
  7. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 2

Graded: Week 2 quiz

WEEK 3


Space and Black Holes
Hunting for black holes, and why we need to get above the atmosphere to do it.


6 videos, 3 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week 3
  2. Video: W3 Part 1 - Our Enemy the Atmosphere
  3. Video: W3 Part 2 - Hunting for Black Holes
  4. Video: W3 Part 3 - Rockets, Spacecraft, and Orbits
  5. Video: W3 Part 4 - Hunting for Black Holes Part II
  6. Video: W3 Part 5 - Can Space Missions get Cheaper?
  7. Video: W3 Bonus video - A Sense of Scale
  8. Leyendo: Geostationary Orbits
  9. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 3

Graded: Week 3 quiz

WEEK 4


Detectors and the First Galaxies
Detectors, how they work, and how we use them to catch the light from the very first galaxies.


6 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week 4
  2. Video: W4 Part 1 - Catching the Light from the Stars
  3. Video: W4 Part 2 - Galaxies since the Dawn of Time
  4. Video: W4 Part 3a - Light, Matter, and CCDs
  5. Video: W4 Part 3b - Infrared Detectors
  6. Video: W4 Part 4 - Galaxies since the Dawn of Time Part II
  7. Video: W4 Part 5 - Another Revolution in Detector Technology?
  8. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 4

Graded: Week 4 quiz

WEEK 5


Computers and Killer Rocks
Why computers are crucial in astronomy, and how they are used to find rare objects.


5 videos, 3 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week 5
  2. Video: W5 Part 1 - Computers Everywhere
  3. Video: W5 Part 2 - Killer Rocks
  4. Video: W5 Part 3 - Computers, Databases, and the Internet
  5. Video: W5 Part 4 - Killer Rocks Part II
  6. Video: W5 Part 5 - Hitting the Buffers?
  7. Leyendo: Big numbers: Megaparsecs, Petabytes, and all that Jazz
  8. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 5

Graded: Week 5 quiz

WEEK 6


Spectroscopy and Dark Energy
How to break up light into its component parts, how that allows us to do astrophysics, and why we believe the Universe is full of a mysterious dark energy.


5 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Leyendo: Welcome to Week-6
  2. Video: W6 P1 - Light, Atoms, and Motion
  3. Video: W6 P2 - The Accelerating Universe and Dark Energy
  4. Video: W6 P3 - How Spectrographs Work
  5. Video: W6 P4 - Dark Energy Part II
  6. Video: W6 P5 - A Perfect Spectrograph?
  7. Leyendo: Additional Information for Week 6

Graded: Week 6 quiz
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