University of Hawaii at Hilo

Natural Sciences Division

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Summer Session in Astronomy - 2015Summer 2015 session flyer

UH Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) Summer program link

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Physics and Astronomy program are excited to offer a special series of three astronomy courses for this summer.

Special two week intensive summer courses, dates: July 20-31, 2015.

UH Hilo Summer 2015 FlyerCourse A: Astro 398 (CRN 12519) Software Systems for Astronomy: MTWRF 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM 2 credits

Course B: Astro 398 (CRN 12520) Applied Software Systems for Astronomy: MTWRF 1:00 PM - 3:45 PM 2 credits

Course C: Astro 398L (CRN 12521) Preparation for Research and Work in Maunakea Astronomy: MTWRF 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM 2 credits

<Link to register for these courses>

About these courses:Summer 2015 flyer

This course is based on a new textbook, Software Systems for Astronomy (Springer 2014) The course covers the control systems used to point the telescope and operate its cameras and spectrographs; as well as the web based tools used to plan those observations. The course also covers the analysis and archiving of astronomical data once it has been acquired. Students will learn about existing software tools and packages, develop their own software tools, and analyze real datasets from today's leading observatories. Thecourse is open to both astronomy students with a strong interest in computer science, and to computer science students with a strong interest in astronomy. The course teaches the skills required to land a job at one of the professional telescopes found in Hawaii, Chile, Arizona, and elsewhere (both existing and planned). The software methods and observational techniques taught in this course are typically learned on the job since they have not previously been taught in university courses such as this one.

Mauna kea sunset wide shot


Course A: Software Systems for Astronomy - Dr. Al Conrad (2 credits)

(ASTR398, crn 12519)

Dates: July 20-31st, 2015

Time: MTWRF 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM  

Location: UH Hilo, Sciences and Tech Building

Software systems for astronomy with an emphasis on telescope and instrument control systems, observation planning tools, and software for analyzing and archiving astronomical data once it has been acquired. Students will learn about existing software tools and software design methodologies, design and develop their own software, and analyze datasets from today's leading observatories. Pre: ASTR 110 or ASTR 180, and CS 150. No lab fee

Software systems for Astronomy course syllabus

Course B: Applied Software Systems for Astronomy (2 credits)

(ASTR398, crn 12520)

Dates: July 20-31st, 2015

Time: MTWRF 1:00 PM -  3:45 PM    

Location: UH Hilo, Sciences and Tech Building

Students operate existing software and implement their own software designs. Course exercises complement the presentations in control systems, planning tools, data analysis, and archiving given in the "Software Systems for Astronomy" course. Team programming techniques and proven methods for providing robust software solutions are also exercised in this course. Pre: ASTR 110 or ASTR 180, CS 150, and concurrent enrollment in Software Systems for Astronomy. No lab fee

Course C: Astrophysics from Maunakea (2 credits)

(ASTR398L, crn 12521)

Dates: July 20-31st, 2015

Time: MTWRF 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM 

Location: UH Hilo, Sciences and Tech Building

Course will present various areas of research developed on Maunakea. From the inception of the scientific problem to the development of the idea and the experimental design. Latest technologies and scientific ideas will be presented with an emphasis on results produced by Maunakea astronomy. Topics may include Dark Matter, Accelerating Universe, Exoplanets, Gravitational lensing, Intergalactic Medium, and Galaxy evolution. Pre: ASTR 110 or ASTR 180, and concurrent enrollment in Software Systems for Astronomy. A visit to Maunakea Observatories will take place on a Saturday, weather pending, to be scheduled as part of the class. Student must be able to work at 14,000 ft. elevation. No lab fee

Interested or have questions? Please email the physics and Astronomy department chair, Dr. Marianne Takamiya, at

Enrollment for these three courses

  1. All students should apply online and select Summer Term. Registration information, complete this if you a new student, transfer or current student. <Step one of registration>. There is no application fee for summer sessions.
  2. Review each class you are interested in out one form for each class you would like to participate in
  3. If enrolling in the astro lab, email your research topic form to, with the subject "Astronomy Summer Session 2015".

For international students only:

International student must provide the following documentation:
  1. documentation of financial support in the amount of US$6501 or equivalent from sponsor or student's current bank statement
  2. Unofficial copy of current university transcript
  3. Copy of passport
  4. F-1 visa
  5. if student is enrolled in other US institution: current copy of From I-20
Maunakea sunset observatories tall image
Cost of summer school:
The final cost of the summer school has not been finalized by the University of Hawaii.  It is prudent to assume that the cost will be slightly higher than last summer's which were as follows:
  1. Resident of Hawaiʻi State: $258 per credit
  2. Non-resident of Hawaiʻi State including international students: $366 per credit.
Current information on Summer 2015 Tuition and Fee rates is available at the <Summer Session homepage>
Each course is 2 credits. We estimate that the total cost of taking all three courses will be approximately $1600 for Hawaiʻi residents and  $2200 for non-residents of Hawaiʻi and international students.

Summer financial aid may be available, please visit our campus FAO at

Questions, email

Meet the Instructors:

(Courses A & B) - Dr. Albert Conrad

Dr. Albert ConradAs both an astronomer and a software developer, Dr. Albert Conrad has developed and used software systems for all phases of observing: from planning the observation, to taking the data, to analyzing the data in preparation for publication. Dr. Conrad’s research interests include asteroid systems and developing novel techniques to study comets, planets, and the moons of planets, in particular Jupiter’s moon Io. His complete bibliography includes over 100 publications including 26 articles in refereed journals. These range from his early software designs for the Keck Observatory, to his discovery of a small moon orbiting asteroid (41) Daphne. He enjoys sharing the results of his research through teaching, public lectures, and K-12 classroom visits. Dr. Conrad received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1994. He then worked as software engineer and support astronomer at both Lick and Keck Observatories before moving to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy to lead the development of a next generation adaptive optics system. Currently, as staff scientist at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, he develops systems for high angular resolution and conducts research in planetary science. He enjoys cycling, sailing, and outrigger canoe paddling.

Course C Instructors

Professor Inger Jorgensen
Inger Jorgensen
Gemini Observatory, Research: Formation and evolution of galaxies
Professor Nicholas Flagey
Nicolas Flagey
Institute for Astronomy, Research: Interstellar Medium
Andre-Nicolas Chene
Andre-Nicolas Chene
Gemini Observatory, Research: Young Massive Stars
Professor Atsuko Nitta
Atsuko Nitta
Gemini Observatory, Research: White Dwarfs
Professor Luca Rizzi
Luca Rizzi
Keck Observatory, Research: Dwarf galaxies