Educating astrometry and celestial mechanics students for the 21st century
Astrometry and Celestial Mechanics have entered a new era with the advent of Micro-arcsecond positions, parallaxes and proper motions. Cutting-edge science topics will be addressed that were far beyond our grasp only a few years ago. It will be possible to determine definitive distances to Cepheid variables, the center of our Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds and other Local Group members. We will measure the orbital parameters of dwarf galaxies that are merging with the Milky Way, define the kinematics, dynamics and structure of our Galaxy and search for evidence of the Dark Matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe. Stellar masses will be determined routinely to 1% accuracy and we will be able to make full orbit solutions and mass determinations for Extrasolar planetary systems. If we are to take advantage of Micro-arcsecond astrometry, we need to reformulate our study of reference frames, systems and the equations of motion in the context of special and general relativity. Methods also need to be developed to statistically analyze our data and calibrate our instruments to levels beyond current standards. As a consequence, our curricula must be drastically revised to meet the needs of students in the 21st Century. With the above considerations in mind, we developed a syllabus for an introductory one-semester course in Astrometry and Celestial Mechanics. This course gives broad introductions to most topics in our fields and a base of knowledge from which a student can elect areas for self-study or attendance at centers where advanced courses, workshops or internships are available.
van Altena, W. F., & Stavinschi, M. (2008). Educating astrometry and celestial mechanics students for the 21st century (Vol. 248, pp. 514–520). Presented at the A Giant Step: from Milli- to Micro-arcsecond Astrometry. https://doi.org/10.1017/S174392130802
Type of Publication
van Altena, William F. | Stavinschi, Magda G.
Yale University | Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy
Proceedings of the IAU Symposium: A Giant Step: from Milli- to Micro-arcsecond Astrometry
Conference Proceeding Type
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America | Romania
15-19 October 2007