The laboratory exercises for astronomy are a recent addition to the Phy 445/515
lab offerings. There are likely to be some difficulties as we all learn this
new system, and iron out the bugs. Please do not hesitate to call attention
of anything that may not be working correctly to a TA or your instructor.
And please be patient with us.
If you want to do one of these labs,
you must familiarize yourself in advance with the labs
and the basic science goals. In particular, you must
read this page and the other introductory pages. They are
If you choose to do the
data analysis project, you must come to the first class meeting (second
meeting if this is the first lab you are doing)
with a written, one page description of your science goals and the data sets
you plan to access. In the other labs, there will be a short quiz at the
outset, based on material in these web pages and (perhaps) the quoted
Note that there are more labs than computer stations, when all the labs are
operational. All the labs are computer-intensive. There cannot be more than 4
groups signed up for the these labs at any obe time. No more than one group can
sign up for the
Astronomy lab, since the software exists only on one of the computers.
There is no limit to the number of groups that can attack other labs, although
it may be necessary to share the data CDs in some cases.
Note that the lab to measure the speed of light is
generally not available when Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun.
Astronomy is a computionally-intensive science, whether you are doing numerical
modelling or reducing data, and these labs are no exception.
The astronomy labs are done, at least in part, seated in front of a computer.
We have 4 PCs running the LINUX operating system.
The PCs are attached to the internet.
However, for security considerations, we only have an outgoing connection.
That means that you cannot send mail to the PCs, and cannot get into the PCs
by telnet or ftp from outside. You can get out from the PCs using the secure
protocols ssh or scp.
Click here for specific information about
For those of you who need more time in front of a computer to complete
a lab, the Sun workstations in the Math SYNC site run IDL (the analysis program
you should be using). If you have an account there, you can copy your data
there. IDL is NOT free software: you can get a 7 day evaluation version for
your PC, but any permanent installation costs money.
There is a limited amount of paper reference materials currently available.
They are shelved to the left of the computer bench. The current collection
These materials should not leave the room without the permission of an
- "In Quest of the Universe", by K.F. Kuin, an introductory astronomy
- A complete set of IDL 5.1 reference manuals
- NASA IUE newsletter #57 "New Spectral Image Processing System Information
Manual: Version 2.0".
- The Care and Feeding of Mount Stony Brook Observatory.
- IDL database documentation (Chapter 3 of "A Users Guide to the GHRS
Software", J. Blackwell, et al.
- A printed copy of the catalog of
"Chromospherically Active Binary Stars",
by Strassmeier et al.
- An IDL reference book, "IDL Programming Techniques", by D. W. Fanning,
is attached to the desk by the printer.
to PHY445/515 Astronomy page