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Analyzing the Universe, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey

61 ratings
23 reviews

About this Course

Using publicly available data from NASA of actual satellite observations of astronomical x-ray sources, we explore some of the mysteries of the cosmos, including neutron stars, black holes, quasars and supernovae. We will analyze energy spectra and time series data to understand how these incredible objects work. We utilize an imaging tool called DS9 to explore the amazing diversity of astronomical observations that have made x-ray astronomy one of the most active and exciting fields of scientific investigation in the past 50 years. Each week we will explore a different facet of x-ray astronomy. Beginning with an introduction to the nature of image formation, we then move on to examples of how our imaging program, DS9, can aid our understanding of real satellite data. You will using the actual data that scientists use when doing their work. Nothing is "canned". You will be able to appreciate the excitement that astronomers felt when they made their important discoveries concerning periodic binary x-ray sources, supernovae and their remnants, and extragalactic sources that have shaped our understanding of cosmology....

Top reviews


Jul 12, 2017

Excellent professor ,made a dummy like me understand...Also I had no problem understanding him, even though English is not my native language... Very interesting subject, well explained. Recommended


May 26, 2018

We learned this fantastic method for analyzing astronomical images using ds9. Dr. Matilsky is a great teacher, he made the difficult topics fun and correctly showed how to solve the problems.

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23 Reviews


Nov 17, 2018

Excellent presentation of interesting material

By Katja

Oct 28, 2018

Thank You! Very good course, different with actual data to handle. Thank You Terry Matilsky for your lessons. They were excellent.

By James Wetzel

Oct 23, 2018

Fantastic introduction to Astronomy and X-ray observing and analysis.

By Charles R Billo

Oct 22, 2018

While the subject matter is great, the prof does not go over the maths you will need. He presents a formula, works it out without much explanation, then it's up to you to pull algebra manipulations on a "practicequiz". You don't get to practice before the quiz! You don't get a final exam! You don't get a good explanation until the last week of something you needed a month ago! I found myself reviewing videos and reading material, confirming the answer was NOT to be found there, and then researching online over and over and over again. I passed the course yet I STILL don't understand the quick energy analysis peaks, etc. The DS9 suite is outdated and very Win 3.x style of clunky. There is no "undo" button, and so you can find yourself restarting everything several times. It also doesn't magnify the font; available only in eyestrain-o-vision. While this has nothing to do with the course execution, it's an additional annoyance not to have a current tech program. I was resolved to understand Xray analysis, otherwise I would have dropped such a poorly taught course in the third week entirely due to poor "teaching".


Oct 19, 2018

Awesome with ds9 tutorial.

By Steve Bosley

Oct 12, 2018

Use of DS9 tool to explain the science is spot on !

By Alejandro Robles Toledo

Oct 01, 2018

An amazing course. I learned a lot of tools for an astronomical analysis. The topics was very well explicated and the lectures was very helpful.

Will be awesome if there were a week/topic where explain all the ds9's tools and options, or at least a tutorial on a web page.

By Knulp Rittmeyer

Sep 17, 2018

This course provides great insight in how to build understanding by analyzing data.

By Arnaud Dion

Aug 16, 2018

The course is really interesting ! The lecture are easy to understand, and Prof. Matilsky is fascinating. I truly liked the exercices based on real astronomical data and observation from Chandra Satellite.

By Ajinkya Gujar

Jun 09, 2018

Learning some tools to look at actual data was the best part of the course