Radio Astronomy 813 - 1st semester, 1st term, 2015

This is the home page of  Radio Astronomy 813, Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. This course is being led by Prof D B Davidson this year. Evaluation will be discussed in class.

Lecture days and times:

Lectures are given weekly (where possible) during the first term, on Tuesday from 11h00 to approx 12h45 (length varies from week to week). Venue: usually E207, E&E Engineering, University of Stellenbosch.

 What's new:


The aim of this post-graduate course is to introduce concepts in radio astronomy to electronic engineers, in particular for students pursuing MSc and PhD research on the MeerKAT and SKA telescopes. The course will introduce some basic concepts in astronomy, more specifically radio astronomy, and also electromagnetic wave theory, before moving on the considering radio telescopes (both single dishes and interferometers). The focus is primarily on engineering electromagnetics, and secondarily on signal processing. The course will not go into detail on the astrophysics of radio emissions, but topics such as including hydrogen line (H1) emissions, synchrotron radiation (bremmstrahlung), cosmic microwave background radiation, pulsars, and some very basic ideas of cosmology will be touched on.
It is intended that the material will sensitise primarily EE students to the field of radio astronomy, permitting them to interact intelligently with astronomers -  in particular regarding design work on the new generation of radio telescopes such as MeerKAT and SKA - rather than making them astronomers per se.

Course announcements

None at present

Lecture schedule and course content (provisional)


Lecture 1 was taken from a variety of sources. Recommended additional reading is Chapter 3 in  F.R.Chromey, "The measure the sky: An introduction to observational astronomy", Cambridge Univ Press, 2010.
Lectures 2-5 come from J.D. Kraus, "Radio Astronomy", McGraw Hill 1966 (2nd edn 1986, Cygnus-Quasar).
Lecture 6 comes primarily from A.R. Thompson, J.M Moran, G.W Swenson, "Interferometry and synthesis in radio astronomy", 2nd ed, Wiley-VCH, 2004; and BG Clark, "Coherence in Radio Astronomy", in "Synthesis Imaging in Radio Astronomy II", GB Taylor et al. (eds), APS Conference Series, Vol 180, 1999 (aka the "White Book").
See also the NRAO on-line course "Essential Radio Astronomy", available