Skip to main content

The Radio Sky I: Science and Observations

Be captivated by the exotic objects that populate the Radio Sky and gain a solid understanding of their physics and the fundamental techniques we use to observe them.

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Oct 18
Estimated 7 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

The serendipitous and unexpected discovery of radio emission from celestial objects opened up the possibility of studying a new and exciting view of the universe beyond the visible spectrum. Astronomers have been studying the cosmos in visible light since ancient Greece, but it is only in comparatively modern times that the universe beyond the visible spectrum has become accessible to us.

In this course you will learn about the most important objects that emit in the radio regime, both within and beyond our own galaxy. Covering topics from the birth and death of stars to the detection of Gravitational waves you will learn how radio observations contribute to a richer understanding of the universe we inhabit. This course also introduces the basics of radio detectors and the technologies we use to observe at radio wavelengths.

At a glance

  • Institution: EPFLx
  • Subject: Physics
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • Undergraduate: algebra; basic mathematics and physics concepts
    • Basic computer science
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Gain an overview of Radio Astronomy and its context
  • Understand the different detector technologies used at different wavelengths
  • Learn the features of the main emission mechanisms which cause radio emission
  • Characterise the different types of celestial radio emitters
  • Use radio emission to diagnose key physical and scientific insights into the nature of the object being observed.

Week 1: An historical perspective of radio astronomy, followed by the description of the main objects in the universe that can be observed at radio wavelength.

Week 2: The basics of photon properties and propagation. Black-body emission and radiation transport.

Week 3: Description of the photon spectrum: continuum production and line physics.

Week 4: Basics of detection of photons. Detectors across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Week 5: The main objects that can be detected in the Universe at radio wavelength - first part.

Week 6: The main objects that can be detected in the Universe at radio wavelength - second part.

About the instructors

Interested in this course for your business or team?

Train your employees in the most in-demand topics, with edX for Business.