Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Observational Optical Astronomy
Physics 344 --- Fall 2018

Course Information:

This course provides an introduction to the tools and techniques of modern observational astronomy at visible wavelengths. We will use the 20-inch optical telescope of the Schommer Observatory to carry out astronomical imaging and spectroscopic observations, and analyze these observations using professional image-processing software.

Professor Tad Pryor, 302W Physics & Astronomy Bldg, 848-445-8873,
Office Hour: Wednesday 3:00 - 4:30 PM. Alternatively, call or email for an appointment.

Mr. Jack Hay, 331W Physics & Astronomy Bldg,
Office Hour: TBD

Lecture: Th period 7 (6:40 - 8:00 PM), SEC-216
Observing: 7-9 or 9-11 PM on Su, M, Tu, W, and F nights, Rm 401, Physics & Astronomy Bldg, Busch Campus (enter the door facing Allison Rd and take the stairs to the 4th floor)
OPTIONAL Text: Observational Astronomy, 2nd edition by Birney, Gonzalez, & Oesper, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-85370-5

Image: Composite color image of M33 taken with the 0.5m telescope of the Schommer Observatory .


Current Course News

Students in this course can access the Physics Department LAWN with their laptop. Your web browser will be directed to a login screen. Select the "Authorized Rutgers NetID" option from the "Status:" line and then enter your NetID and password.

Observing Schedule

Assignments to the observing sessions are below. Let me know if you have a problem with your day/time.

Day Time Student 1 Student 2 Student 3
Sunday 7:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 11:00
Monday 7:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 11:00
Tuesday 7:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 11:00
Wednesday 7:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 11:00
Friday 7:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 11:00

Observing predictions for the Schommer Observatory. In the "cloud cover" line, dark blue is good and white is bad.


Manuals and Handouts

Lecture Slides

Please send any comments on this page to pryor at

Revised August 13, 2018