Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTRO)

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Courses

Courses primarily for undergraduates:

Cr. 1. F.S.


An entirely web-based course covering topics in observing the sky and navigation by the stars for students with little or no previous experience. The course combines material on common naked-eye phenomena, such as daily and seasonal variations in the sky, with information on how these helped navigators determine where they are on Earth. The course "lectures" are on-line, interactive units with build in exercises, hands-on (offline) activities and layers of help. Graded homework and quizzes are administered via Blackboard Learn. Students who take Astro 120 may count credit in only one of Astro 102 or 103 toward graduation.

Cr. 1. F.S.


An entirely web-based course covering topics in celestial mechanics ("Rocket science!") for students with little or no previous experience. It combines the geography of the solar system with discussion of methods of traveling to the other planets. The course "lectures" are on-line, interactive units with built-in exercises, hands-on (offline) activities, and layers of help. Graded homework and quizzes are administered via Blackboard Learn. Students who take Astro 120 may count credit in only one of Astro 102 or 103 toward graduation.

(Cross-listed with GEOL). (2-0) Cr. 2. F.S.

Prereq: Major in elementary or early childhood education.
Fundamental concepts of Earth and Space Science, including the solar system, weather and climate, water and soils, plate tectonics, and geologic hazards. Online course format.

(Cross-listed with GEOL). (0-2) Cr. 1. F.S.

Prereq: Restricted to elementary and early childhood education majors; to be taken concurrently with GEOL 106/ASTRO 106
Inquiry-based lab exploring fundamental concepts of Earth and Space Science, including the solar system, weather and climate, water and soils, plate tectonics, and geologic hazards. Must be taken concurrently with GEOL/ASTRO 106.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


For the nonscientist. A survey of our view of the universe, and the exploration of the solar system and beyond. The sky: constellations; motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets; seasons and the calendar; eclipses. The solar system: origin and evolution; characteristics of the Sun, planets, satellites, comets, meteorites, and asteroids. The detection and characterization of other solar systems, and the search for life in the universe. Extensive use of the planetarium is included. Students who take Astro 120 may count credit in only one of Astro 102 or 103 toward graduation.

(0-2) Cr. 1. F.S.

Prereq: Concurrent or previous enrollment in ASTRO 120
Laboratory course to accompany ASTRO 120. Students carry out practical exercises involving naked eye and telescopic observing to explore and reinforce ideas covered in ASTRO 120. Activities based on a sky-simulation computer program and other weather-independent exercises are also included.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


For the nonscientist. A survey of astronomy with a focus on the universe beyond our solar system. Basic observational astronomy and the history of astronomy. Stellar astronomy: motions, distances, sizes, spectra; types of stars; variability; binary systems. Stellar evolution: the birth, life, and death of stars, including supernovae, neutron stars, and black holes. The structure and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy. Other galaxies, clusters of galaxies, quasars. Theories of the origin of the universe.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ASTRO 120 or ASTRO 150
For the nonscientist. A small enrollment course examining new and exciting topics in modern astronomy. Galaxy and star formation. Black holes and pulsars. Colliding galaxies. Quasars. Dark Matter. Dark energy. Quasars. Cosmology, the Big Bang and the future of the universe. Prospects and searches for extraterrestrial life.

Cr. 1-4. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: PHYS 222
An introduction to the physics of the Solar System and the planetary systems discovered around other stars. General characteristics of planetary systems: dynamics, thermodynamics, internal and surface structure of planets and minor bodies, physics of their atmosphere. Discovery techniques and characterization of extrasolar planets, and planetary systems formation models. "Grand tour" of the Solar System, using data and imagery from probes and telescopes that have visited these worlds. The origin and evolution of life on Earth, and the ongoing search for life in the Solar System and elsewhere in the universe.

(1-6) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: PHYS 222
Experiments in optical astronomy. Observational techniques, ranging from stellar photometry to CCD imaging. Data processing and analysis techniques. Astronomical software packages and online databases and resources. Available instruments include a variety of small telescopes and astronomical CCD cameras.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: PHYS 222
An exploration of the universe beyond our Solar System, with emphasis on the astrophysics of stars and galaxies. Observable properties of stars, physics of stellar atmospheres and interiors. Birth, evolution and death of stars, to understand the past and future of our Sun, the Milky Way galaxy and the other galaxies in the universe. Basic concepts of cosmology, dark matter and dark energy. Use of computer models to calculate the structure and evolution of stars and protostars, and to analyze actual astronomical data obtained by professional astronomers.

(Dual-listed with ASTRO 505). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ASTRO 346 or permission of instructor
Introduction to modern cosmology and large-scale structure; mathematical and observational fundamentals associated with the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. Scale of the Universe, Hubble's Law, the cosmic microwave background, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the origin of elements, dark energy and the accelerating universe, and dark matter. For senior undergraduates and graduate students in all areas of physics.

Cr. 1-6. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Research under supervision of astronomy faculty.

Cr. 1-6. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: ASTRO 344L and permission of instructor
Laboratory or observational project under supervision of astronomy faculty.

Cr. 1-4. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits.

Prereq: 6 credits in astronomy, permission of instructor
No more than 9 credits of Astro 490 may be counted toward graduation.

Cr. 1-4. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits.

Prereq: 6 credits in astronomy, permission of instructor
No more than 9 credits of Astro 490 may be counted toward graduation.

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(Dual-listed with ASTRO 405). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ASTRO 346 or permission of instructor
Introduction to modern cosmology and large-scale structure; mathematical and observational fundamentals associated with the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. Scale of the Universe, Hubble's Law, the cosmic microwave background, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the origin of elements, dark energy and the accelerating universe, and dark matter. For senior undergraduates and graduate students in all areas of physics.

(2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 405 or ASTRO 505 or permission of instructor
Techniques in optical and near-IR astronomy, including spectroscopy and CCD photometry. Emphasis on projects involving proficiency in the use of research telescopes and modern instrumentation. Project topics range from photometric studies of pulsating and binary star systems to deep CCD imaging of faint nebulae and galaxies.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 405 or ASTRO 505 or permission of the instructor
The interior structure and atmospheric properties of stars: Stellar structure equations and constitutive relations: energy generation, energy transport by radiation and convection; equation of state, nuclear energy generation and nucleosynthesis. Numerical and analytic solutions to the equations of structure and evolution. Observational connections through the theory of radiative transfer. Line and continuum processes and sources of opacity. Non-LTE and statistical equilibrium. Line profiles. Interpretation of stellar spectra: temperature, pressure, and abundance determinations. Stellar evolution from formation to final phases.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 405 or ASTRO 505 or permission of the instructor
Interactions of high-energy particles, non-thermal radiation processes, spectral evolution of non-thermal systems, cosmic rays, active galactic nuclei, pulsars, neutrinos, measurement techniques for relativistic charged particles, high energy photons, and neutrinos.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 405 or ASTRO 505 or permission of instructor
Overall structure of our Galaxy and the interstellar medium. Physical processes in the interstellar medium (e.g., heating and cooling mechanisms, turbulence). Observational techniques for studying the interstellar medium. Kinematics and chemical evolution of the Galaxy.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 405 or ASTRO 505 or permission of the instructor
Galaxy evolution, dynamics of external galaxies, evolution and classification of galaxies, groups and clusters of galaxies, extragalactic radio sources, quasars, structure formation, cosmological models and their observational consequences.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Individually directed study of research-level problems for students electing the nonthesis M.S. option in astronomy.

Courses for graduate students:

(1-0) Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.


Topics of current interest in astronomy and astrophysics. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: ASTRO 580 or permission of instructor
Advanced topics in stellar astrophysics. Dynamic and extended atmospheres, chromospheres, coronae, and stellar winds. MHD, stellar activity, and dynamo theory. Radiative transfer and the transition from extended atmospheres to the interstellar medium. Diffusive processes in stellar atmospheres and interiors. Techniques for quantitative analysis of planetary and stellar spectra including detailed modeling and spectrum synthesis. Evolution in interacting binaries. Nucleosynthesis II. Variable stars. Supernovae. Neutron stars and black holes.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.