Undergraduate Astronomy Courses
These include classes available for all students (general education), which may also be taken as electives for the BA Astronomy degree.
You may view the current draft 4-year plan for instructors: Teaching Plan 2015
General Education and Astronomy Electives
ASTR 110, Survey of Astronomy (DP, offered Fall, Spring, and Summer) Introduction to the astronomical universe: sky and celestial objects, planetary motion, planets and the Solar System, Sun and stars, the Milky Way and galaxies, cosmology and the universe. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 110 syllabus
ASTR 110L, Survey of Astronomy Laboratory (DY, offered Fall and Spring, Pre: 110 (or concurrent), or consent.) Observations of constellations and the night sky, the sun and moon, planets, stars, and deep-sky objects; laboratory and observational experiments illustrating basic concepts in astronomy. Offered in the evening. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 110L syllabus
ASTR 130, Introduction to Archaeoastronomy (DP, usually offered Fall) Astronomy and celestial lore in ancient cultures: Neolithic Europe, Mayan, Mesoamerican, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, American Indian, Chinese, and Polynesian. Concepts of the cosmos, calendars, eclipse predictions, motion of celestial bodies, and navigation. Construction of simple observing tools.
ASTR 150 (co-listed as GG 105), Voyages through the Solar System (DP) An illustrated voyage through the Solar System based on recent scientific results. The class highlights the origin, evolution, and current knowledge of the eight planets, their moons, asteroids, comets, and one star, the Sun. Field trip.
ASTR 280, Evolution of the Universe (DP, offered Fall, Pre: any introductory astronomy or physics course, or consent.) The Big Bang, origin of the elements, formation and evolution of galaxies and stars. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 280 syllabus
ASTR 281, Astrobiology (DP, WI, offered Spring, Pre: 110 or 240, or consent.) Are we alone in the universe? Modern astronomical, biological, and geological perspectives on this fundamental question. Searches for life on Mars, oceans on Europa, planets orbiting other stars. Space exploration and colonies, interstellar spaceflight and communication.
ASTR 380, The Cosmos in Western Culture (WI, offered Spring) History and intellectual context of astronomical discovery; the evolution of ideas of space, time, and motion from the Babylonians to relativistic cosmologies; emphasis on the interaction of astronomy with the history of ideas.
Courses for majors and minors
ASTR 210, Foundations of Astronomy (DP, offered Spring, Pre: PHYS 151 or PHYS 170) A rigorous overview of modern astronomy: solar system, stellar, galactic and extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.
ASTR 241, Foundations of Astrophysics I (DP, offered Fall, Pre: PHYS 170, MATH 242 or 252A, and PHYS 272 or concurrent) Solar system astrophysics. Dynamics of planets, satellite systems, asteroids and comets; internal and atmospheric structure of terrestrial and giant planets; thermal balance; the Sun as a star. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 241 syllabus
ASTR 242, Foundations of Astrophysics II (DP, offered Spring, Pre: 241, PHYS 274, and MATH 243 or 253A) Astrophysics of galaxies and stars. Galactic structure and dynamics; active nuclei; large-scale structure. Elements of Newtonian and relativistic cosmology. Stellar atmospheres and spectral lines. Stellar interiors; nuclear energy generation; main-sequence and evolved stars. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 242 syllabus
ASTR 300, Observational Astronomy (DP, offered Fall, Pre: 240 or 242; PHYS 152 or 274; MATH 215, 241, or 251A) Principles and techniques of optical and near-infrared astronomical observation. Astronomical coordinate systems. Telescopes, cameras, spectrographs, and detectors. Astrometry, photometry, and spectroscopy of astronomical objects.
ASTR 300L, Observational Astronomy Lab (DY, offered Fall, Pre: 300; PHYS 152 or 274; PHYS 152L or 274L; MATH 215, 241, or 251A.) Optical and near-infrared astronomy laboratory. Error analysis, properties of light, data, and image processing. Astrometric, photometric, and spectroscopic measurement. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 300L syllabus
ASTR 301, Observational Projects (DY, offered Spring, Pre: 300 and 300L) Practical astronomical observing. Students select objects to study, plan, and conduct remote observations using research-grade telescopes, reduce data, present results in written and verbal form. Introduces LaTeX, literature research, time allocation. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 301 syllabus
ASTR 320, Astronomical Spectroscopy (DP, offered Spring, Pre: 240 or 242; PHYS 152 or 274; MATH 216 or 242 or 252A.) Introduction to astronomical spectroscopy. Stellar atmospheres, line formation, elements of radiative transfer. Phases of interstellar medium. Emission line diagnostics. Doppler shift and kinematics. Sample syllabus: Sample ASTR 320 syllabus
ASTR 399, Directed Study Individual reading, observation, or experimentation in astronomy and astrophysics. Repeatable four times.
ASTR 423, Stellar Astrophysics (DP, offered Spring, Pre: 242 and 300, and PHYS 480) Calculus-based introduction to stellar astrophysics, including: application of astrometry, photometry, and spectrometry to determine fundamental stellar properties; stellar structure and evolution of single and binary stars; astrophysical distance determination methods; stellar nucleosynthesis.
ASTR 426, Galaxies & Cosmology (DP, offered alternate Fall) Structure, history, and composition of the universe; the Big Bang; formation and evolution of galaxies, clusters, and large-scale structure; cosmological models.
ASTR 430, The Solar System (DP, offered alternate Fall) Observations and physical nature of planets and moons, asteroids, comets, and other small bodies; formation of the Solar System; discovery of other planetary systems; solar activity.
ASTR 494, Senior Research Project (Pre: 301.) Research in observational, theoretical, or numerical astronomy or astronomical instrumentation development, supervised by Institute for Astronomy faculty. Alternatively, research combining astronomy with additional field, conducted with cooperating faculty. Significant written products required. Repeatable one time, up to eight credits.