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department of astronomy
mcdonald observatory
hobby-eberly telescope
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Astronomy 351 - Spring 2004
TTh 2:00 - 3:30 · RLM 13.112 · Unique No. 45035


John Lacy
Office: RLM 16.332
Phone: (512) 471-1469


Course Website


Katelyn Allers
Office: RLM 16.312
Phone: (512) 471-8275


Jimmy Welborn
Office: RLM 17.330
Phone: (512) 471-3427

1. Introduction

This course teaches the fundamentals of the design and construction of experimental apparatus using astronomical instruments as the model for the process. We will cover key aspects of some of the most important topics in the field: optics and optical design, mechanical design and machining, electronics design and fabrication, real-time computer control, project planning, and performance analysis. Since we cannot teach you everything you need to know in a single semester, we will try to equip you with enough background to be able to continue learning on your own.

1.1. Overall Objectives

By the end of the course, you should have a concrete knowledge of many of the essentials of instrumentation. You should be able to plan out, schedule, and organize an instrumentation project and have some idea of what goes into a project budget. You should understand the steps involved in the mechanical, optical, software, and electronics design. You should have a good working knowledge of where to obtain information you need for your project in each of these areas. You should have concrete knowledge of computer aided design (CAD) programs for mechanical design (AutoCad), electronics design and simulation (Circuit Maker), and optical design and simulation (Zemax). You will know how to do basic work with hand tools and with machine shop equipment. You will be able to assemble and understand some electronics circuits and be able to use laboratory equipment to test them. You will know the fundamentals of optical design and be able to design and build a grating spectrometer. You will be able to use LabView to interface an instrument to a computer.

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8 January 2004
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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