Research Practice I – Spectroscopic Observation

Research Practice I – Spectroscopic Observation

Course Code:

Course Name: Research Practice I – Spectroscopic Observation

Credits: 2.0

Level: Undergraduate

Pre-requisite: Basic Astronomy, Observational Astrophysics

Lecture Time: 40 periods

Instructors: JIANG Xiaojun and WANG Jing

Course Description

This course, supplemented by a systematic explanation of the principles and methods of spectral observation, focuses on the complete flow of spectrograph design, spectroscopic observation and data processing, which enables students to understand not only the important role of spectroscopy in astronomy, but also the basic way of   spectral observation and data reduction. The study provides a solid foundation for future astronomical research work. This course requires students to have basic knowledge of fundamental astronomy, observational astrophysics, and data analysis, and to use IRAF software for data processing and analysis.

Topics and Schedule

  1. History of spectroscopic observation in astronomy (2 periods)
  2. 1.The important role of spectroscopic observation in astronomy
  3. 2.History of technology used in spectroscopic observation
    1. The principle and practice of spectrometer (8 periods)
  4. 1.Explaining the principle of light dispersion, obtaining the spectrum of the Sun, and identifying the Fraunhofer lines.
  5. 2.Showing the structure and designation of a spectrometer by examining a typical Cassegrain low-dispersion spectrometer
  6. 3.Guiding students to complete the design of a slitless spectrometer fulfilling the requirements given by the supervisor.
    1. Practices for observation (20 periods)

Performing spectral observations of bright sources (moon, planets, bright stars, nebulae, etc.) by using the telescope and spectrograph at the campus observatory and completing data processing. Each observation includes: 1. Developing an observation plan; 2. Obtaining the spectrum of the object to be measured; 3. Extracting the spectrum of the target.

  1. Spectral analysis (10 periods)

With the taken spectra of various types of objects, studying the spectral features and analysis methods of common celestial bodies. Try to measure the basic parameters of the continuum and lines through in-depth spectral analysis, and to obtain basic physical and chemical properties from the measurements, which provide fundamental data for further theoretical research.

Teaching methods:

Classroom lectures (14 periods), observations at the Campus Observatory (20 periods), and Xinglong Observatory (6 periods) are interspersed.


The grades include project assignments (4 times, 40%), classroom performances (30%) and examination (30%). Upon completion of the course and passing the assessment, the “Qualification Certificate of Spectral Observation and Data Processing Training” certified by Xinglong Observatory will be awarded.


Self-edited handouts



JIANG Xiaojun

Director of Xinglong observatory, professor. He is a member of the council of the China Astronomy Society, and a deputy chief scientist of the scientific application system of the quantum science experimental satellite. His main fields of research are astronomical techniques and methods, and observational study of asteroseismology. He has hosted more than 20 national-level technique and research projects. He has published more than 60 papers, including 40 SCI papers, with more than 700 citations.


Ph.D., senior research in National Astronomical Observatories, CAS, professor in University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2005, he obtained the PhD degree in Department of Astronomy of Beijing Normal University. Later, he worked in Xinglong observatory and served as a support astronomer. In 2009, he moved to the Space Department in National Astronomical Observatories, CAS and participated in the development of the Lunar-based Ultraviolet telescope, a payload of Cheng’e-3 mission and served as the deputy director of system design. He has published more than 50 SCI papers in international journals, including more than 30 first author publications.