- The student understands the basics of radio astronomy and interferometry and can apply these in astrophysical research
- The student knows the most important forms of radio radiation (thermal, synchrotron, cyclotron, line emission)
- The student knows the most important sources of radio radiation (HI, pulsars, Sun, (active) galaxies)
- The student is able to use the Ulrich J. Schwarz Radio Interferometer and correctly interpret the observations
- The student is able to write scientific reports.
Radio astronomy is one of the strong points of Dutch astronomy, starting shortly after the second world war with the construction of the Dwingeloo telescope and continuing to the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope and now the LOw Frequency ARray LOFAR. The application of radio astronomy in astrophysics are wide and variable, ranging from the measurement of neutral hydrogen in galaxies to the timing of pulsars or detecting cosmic magnetism. Radio astronomy is currently going through a big technological revival with the introduction of phased arrays such as LOFAR, which is now operational and the additional of focal plane arrays in traditional telescopes such as the Westerbork array.
The course will give a basic overview of the practice and mathematical foundation of radio astronomy and in particular of radio-interferometry. Students will practice basic radio-interferometric observations with the Ulrich J. Schwarz Radio Interferometer located on the roof of the Huygens building.The course will give an overview of the most important sources of radio radiation in the Universe and will discuss the observations that are possible due to the 21-centimeter emission from the neutral hydrogen atom. The physical principles and processes in the Universe which can be detected through radio radiation will be discussed. Finally, the course will introduce the next-generation radio telescopes that are being built and commissioned at the moment.