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Experimental Astrophysics

Elia Stefano Battistelli


We are now living in the multimessenger era in which often weak and elusive astrophysical phenomena need to be studied using different and orthogonal probes and information carriers in order to be fully understood. This book is designed to give advanced undergraduate students a description of the most popular techniques and instrumentation employed in modern astrophysics. Focusing on electromagnetic radiation and its detection spanning from radio- to X-ray wavelengths, it gives a general description of astrophysical observables, such as flux, brightness, throughput, and magnitude. It describes general concepts about geometrical and physical optics at different wavelengths, in an astronomical context, including the concepts of lenses, mirrors, antennas, telescopes, the focal plane, angular resolution, the field of view, and the diffraction limit. The origin of noise and the extraction of a signal from it is also covered, including noise reduction techniques such as filtering, amplification, as well as cryogenic techniques. The theory of signals and the theorems related to digital electronics are also introduced. A set of student laboratory activities is included to illustrate the concepts covered in the book.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive introduction to modern astrophysical techniques and instrumentation
  • Covers astronomical optics, telescopes, noise, the theory of signals and digital electronics
  • Describes different receiving techniques such as coherent radiometers, semiconductor and superconductor thermal bolometers, charge-coupled devices (CCDs), and X-ray calorimeters
  • Includes a set of student laboratory activities to illustrate the concepts covered in the book

About Editors

Elia Battistelli is an experimental astrophysicist and cosmologist working on several aspects of astrophysics, including the study of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Battistelli is currently Associate Professor in the Physics Department of the Sapienza University of Rome, where he teaches the Astrophysics Laboratory course for third-year bachelor physics students and the General Physics course for biotechnology students in the Medicine faculty. In Battistelli's research, he develops radio-frequency, microwave, and millimeter/submillimeter instrumentation for millimeter astronomy and CMB observations and data analysis.

Table of Contents

1 Astrophysical Observables
2 Astronomical Optics
3 Telescopes
4 Signal Processing
5 Semiconductor Physics
6 Detectors in Astronomy
7 Read-out Electronics
8 Noise and Its Origin
9 Cryogenics
10 Spectroscopy
11 Polarization
12 Signal Extraction from Noise and Calibration
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C


Hardback ISBN: 9780750331173

Ebook ISBN: 9780750331197

DOI: 10.1088/2514-3433/ac0ce4

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing

Series: AAS-IOP Astronomy


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