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High Angular Resolution Astronomy (Telescopes, Adaptive Optics, Interferometry, and more)

Module PH2059

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2019

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2059 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2059 in the version of SS 2019 was Frank Eisenhauer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  • Optics concepts
  • Atmospheric turbulence
  • Speckle interferometry and coronography
  • Adaptive optics I: wavefront sensing, deformable mirrors
  • Adaptive optics II: dynamical control, laser guide stars
  • Interference and coherence, intensity interferometry
  • Optical interferometry I: techniques, components
  • Optical interferometry II: aperture synthesis, astrometry
  • Data analysis and image restoration

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the student is able to

  • survey the state-of-the-art techniques in high angular resolution astronomy
  • understand the basics of ray and wave optics
  • understand the techniques and perspectives of adaptive optics
  • understand basics and techniques of optical and radio interferometry


No prerequisites that are not already included in the prerequisites for the Master’s programmes.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The lecture leads from the basics of optics to the highly specialized techniques of adaptive optics and interferometry. The topics will be presented in thematically structured lectures. Some international experts are invited. To deepen the understanding, the students have to work through individual chapters of textbooks and original literature, which will then be discussed together in the lecture. As a result, the proportion of self-study in this module is high.


PowerPoint. The slides are made available for download in PDF and PowerPoint format.


  • Observational astrophysics: Léna, Lebrun & Mignard, 2nd revised an enlarged edition, Springer, Berlin 1998
  • Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes: Hardy, Oxford University Press, USA, 1998
  • An Introduction to Optical Stellar Interferometry: Labeyrie, Lipson & Nisenson , Cambridge University Press, 2006
  • Principles of Optics: Born & Wolf, Cambridge University Press, 7 edition 1999

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using Knowledge and comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • What is "Seeing", which parameters are used to describe its properties, outline the Kolmogorov model for turbulence
  • Describe the working principle of adaptive optics and its components, give a description in the framework of control theory
  • Outline the principles of stellar interferometry and its main components, how are the measurables related to the intensity distribution of the object

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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