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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: ASTRO DETECTORS
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: SELLIN PJ Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 2
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Problem Sheets


Individual Seminars on Telescopes/Instruments


Presentations on Science requirements


Presentations on Detector selection


Report on detector selection













Part-time Students:


Same as for full-time students


Qualifying Condition(s)


Module Overview
The module addresses the detector technology required for Astronomical research.

This module is taught at the University of Sussex.
Students should normally have an undergraduate degree in Physics or Mathematics

Module Aims

Specific aims are to provide students with:
(i) An overview of instrumentation and detectors
(ii) An overview of some of the topical cutting edge questions in the field
(iii) An appreciation of how scientific requirements translate to instrument/detector
requirements and design

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing the module, the students will be able to:
(i) Display a basic understanding of detectors in astronomy
(ii) Display communication skills
(iii) Distil technological requirements from scientific drivers
(iv) Make informed choice of detector for given application with justification

Module Content

1. A crash course in Astronomy and Astrophysics (6hrs + directed reading)
(i) Fluxes, luminosities, magnitudes, etc.
(ii) Radiation processes, black bodies, spectra
(iii) Stars
(iv) Galaxies
(v) Planets
(vi) Cosmology
(vii) Key questions
(viii) Key requirements

2. Telescopes & Instruments (3 hours student led seminars – from reading)
(i) Optical telescopes
(ii) Interferometry
(iii) Cameras
(iv) Spectroscopy
(v) Astronomy beyond the e/m spectrum

3. Detectors by wavelength (6 hours taught & 3 hours seminars)
(i) Gamma
(ii) X-ray
(iii) UV
(iv) Optical
(v) NIR
(vi) Mid-IR
(vii) FIR
(vii) Sub-mm
(ix) Radio

4. Detector selection for a future space mission X (4X3 hours)
(i) Scientific motivation and requirements
(ii) Detector options
(iii) External Constraints, financial, risk, etc.
(iv) Detector selection

Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures: 12 hours of formal lectures, 6 hours of student led seminars, 12 hours of problem based learning activity
Private study of specified topics
The module is 100% coursework assessed, based on open-book problem sheets, seminar presentations, and a written report.

Selected Texts/Journals

1. Detection of Light: Rieke
2. Fundamental Astronomy: Karttunen
3. Handbook of CCD astronomy: Howell
4. Handbook of Infrared astronomy: Glass

Last Updated

17th December 2010