Undergraduate Astronomy Courses
General admission undergraduate astronomy and astrophysics courses offered at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are listed below. These include classes available for all students (general education), as well as those required for the major and minor degree programs. See also the official UHM Course Catalog for the full listing of astronomy and astrophysics courses.
For the detailed class schedule of the ASTR classes in recent years, see the links below:
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 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 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 280, Evolution of the Universe (DP, offered Fall, Pre: 110 or 210 or 241 or 242, or consent.) The Big Bang, origin of the elements, formation and evolution of galaxies and stars. Sample ASTR 280 syllabus
ASTR 281, Astrobiology (DP, WI, offered Spring, Pre: 110 or 210, 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, History of Cosmology and Scientific Thought (WI, offered Spring, Pre: any ASTR or PHYS course) 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 185, Introduction to Astronomical Research (offered Spring) Introduction to astronomical research, including literature resources, basic computing skills, software tools, data analysis, scientific communication, and research opportunities. Prepares students for effective internships and directed research projects.
ASTR 210, Foundations of Astronomy (DP, offered Spring, Pre: ASTR 110, PHYS 151 or PHYS 170) A rigorous overview of modern astronomy: solar system, stellar, galactic and extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. For science and engineering students.
ASTR 241, Foundations of Astrophysics I: The Solar System (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. Introduces numerical computing. Sample ASTR 241 syllabus
ASTR 242, Foundations of Astrophysics II: Galaxies and Stars (DP, offered Spring, Pre: 241, PHYS 274, and MATH 243 or 253A) Stellar and galactic astrophysics. Stellar magnitudes, colors, distances, and spectra. Galactic structure and evolution, active nuclei, large-scale structure, Big-Bang cosmology. Stellar interiors, nuclear “burning,” main-sequence and evolved stars. Introduces computer programming. Sample ASTR 242 syllabus
ASTR 300, Observational Astronomy (DP, offered Fall, Pre: 210 or 242; PHYS 152 or 274; MATH 216, 242, or 252A) 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. Sample ASTR 300 syllabus
ASTR 300L, Observational Astronomy Lab (DY, offered Fall, Pre: 300 [or concurrent]; PHYS 152 or 274; PHYS 152L or 274L; MATH 216, 242, or 252A.) Optical and near-infrared astronomy laboratory. Error analysis, properties of light, data, and image processing. Astrometric, photometric, and spectroscopic measurement. 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 ASTR 301 syllabus
ASTR 320, Astronomical Spectroscopy (DP, offered Spring, Pre: 210 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 ASTR 320 syllabus
ASTR 326, Modern Extragalactic Astronomy (DP, offered Spring, Pre: ASTR 210 or 242; ASTR 300; PHYS 152 or 274; Recommended: ASTR 280.) Use of astronomical surveys to map large-scale distribution of galaxies. Internal structure & dynamics of galaxies. Evolution of galaxy populations over cosmic time. Theoretical understanding of galaxy formation in context of modern Big Bang cosmology.
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) Advanced survey of 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, Pre: 300 [or concurrent]; PHYS 152 or 274; MATH 216, 242, or 252A) Survey of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, including: galaxy morphology and kinematics; luminosity functions; dark matter; properties of galaxy groups/ clusters; gravitational lensing; redshifts; cosmological models; the Big Bang; thermal history of the Universe; structure formation.
ASTR 430, The Solar System (DP, offered alternate Fall, Pre: 300; PHYS 152 or 274; MATH 216, 242, or 252A) 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 470, The Solar System (DP, offered alternate Fall, Pre: PHYS 274; MATH 244 or 253A [or concurrent], ASTR 242 recommended) Introduction to general relativity & cosmology. Spacetime metrics, geodesics, Einstein field equations, black holes. Geometry of the universe, redshift, cosmological distances. Cosmological models, dark matters, dark energy. Big Bang nucleosynthesis, recombination, cosmic microwave background, inflation.
ASTR 494, Senior Research Project (Pre: 301; 399 [or concurrent]) Seminar focusing on development of professional skills for astronomical research, and on scientific writing as a tool for organizing research. A final paper describing a supervised research project is required. Repeatable one time.