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Exercises in Astronomy

The object of the series is to present various small projects that will pass on some of the excitement and satisfaction in scientific discovery to the students. Using elementary geometrical and physical considerations, the students will be able to derive answers that are comparable with the results of much more sophisticated analyses described in the scientific literature.

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Booklet 1 - Introduction
Contains information on the exercises themselves, on the performance capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope.

File size approximately 3.6 Mb

Booklet 2 - Toolkit

  • Astronomical Toolkit  - contains formulae, explanations of their use and some examples.
  • Mathematical Toolkit - introduces the small-angle approximation.

  • File size approximately 4.2 Mb

    Booklet 3 - Exercise 1
    Uses the geometry of the ring of debris that formed around supernova 1987A (SN1987A) to determine the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud.

    File size approximately 10.5 Mb

    Booklet 4 - Exercise 2
    The period and apparent magnitudes of Cepheid variables in the distant galaxy M100 are measured and, using the Period-Luminosity relationship, the distance to the galaxy is determined.

    File size approximately 7.0 Mb

    Booklet 5 - Exercise 3
    By measuring the angular expansion velocity of the Cat's Eye Nebula through images taken in 1994 and 1997, and using tangential velocity measurements the nebula's distance can be calculated.

    File size approximately 5.0 Mb

    Booklet 6 - Exercise 4
    By using the technique of Main Sequence fitting it is possible to determine the distance to a nearby globular cluster through the analysis of magnitude measurements made at different wavelengths.

    File size approximately 11.0 Mb

    Last Update: 07 February 2005

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