Departments & Programs
Note: A100, A102, A103, A105, and A115 are introductory astronomy courses of comparable difficulty. No one of them is considered a prerequisite for any other. A102 covers selected topics in astronomy with an emphasis on the role of gravity. A103 covers the search for life in the universe. A115 is an introduction to cosmology that also covers many topics in basic astronomy.
- AST-A 100 The Solar System (3 cr.) CASE N&M Celestial sphere, constellations, apparent motions of celestial objects, eclipses, history of astronomy, astronomical observations, the Earth as a planet, the Moon, the planets and their satellites, comets, meteors, theories of the origin of the solar system. Credit given for only one of A100 and A110. I Sem., II Sem., SS.
- AST-A 102 Gravity, the Great Attractor: Evolution of Planets, Stars, and Galaxies (3 cr.) CASE N&M The fundamental role of gravity in shaping the evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and other astrophysical systems is the underlying theme. The scientific method will be emphasized. Topics will include planetary systems, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, binary X-ray sources, gamma-ray bursts, galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe.
- AST-A 103 The Search for Life in the Universe (3 cr.) CASE N&M Explores the origin, nature, and history of life on Earth, prospects for life in our own and other planetary systems, extrasolar planet detection, and the possibility of other technological civilizations.
- AST-A 105 Stars and Galaxies (3 cr.) CASE N&M Introduction to the physical universe. Topics include constellations, gravity, radiation, the Sun, structure and evolution of stars, neutron stars and black holes, the Milky Way galaxy, normal galaxies, active galaxies, quasars, cosmology, and the search for extraterrestrial life. Credit given for only one of A105 or A110. I Sem., II Sem., SS.
- AST-A 115 Birth and Death of the Universe (3 cr.) CASE N&M Introduction to cosmology. Traces the ideas describing the origin and evolution of the universe from ancient geocentric cosmologies to the Big Bang cosmology.
- AST-A 221 General Astronomy I (4 cr.) CASE N&M P: MATH M025 and M026 or high school equivalent. For physical science majors. Introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics, including basic principles of mechanics, gravity, optics, radiation, and observational and experimental methods. A main theme is to explore how these principles affect the evolution of our scientific understanding of astronomical phenomena. Topics typically include the night sky, planetary bodies, the Sun and our solar system, and stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Credit given for only one of A201 or A221. I Sem.
- AST-A 222 General Astronomy II (4 cr.) CASE N&M P: MATH M025 and M026 or high school equivalent. Continuation of A221. For physical science majors. Application of basic principles of gravity, mechanics, optics, and radiation to modern astronomy and astrophysics. Topics typically include stars, stellar populations, interstellar matter, galaxies, cosmology, and observational astronomy from radio to gamma rays. Credit given for only one of A202 or A222. II Sem.
- AST-A 305 Modern Observational Techniques (4 cr.) CASE N&M P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, calculus, PHYS P201- P202 or P221-P222, consent of instructor. Telescopes, astronomical imaging, spectroscopic and photometric observations, and reductions. I Sem.
- AST-A 320 Computational Problems in Astronomy (3 cr.) CASE N&M P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, MATH M212, PHYS P221-P222. R: Previous computer experience is helpful. Problem-solving exercises in stellar astronomy, galaxies, and astronomical spectroscopy. Topics include orbital solutions of binary stars, structure of the Milky Way, and astronomical distance scales.
- AST-A 390 Reading Course (1–3 cr.) P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, consent of instructor. I Sem., II Sem., SS. May be taken for a maximum of 6 credits.
- AST-A 450 Galactic Astrophysics (3 cr.) P: Calculus, PHYS-P 301, A222; or consent of instructor. Galactic structure, basic components, kinematics, chemical properties, stellar populations, theories of formation and evolution of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies.
- AST-A 451 Stellar Astrophysics (3 cr.) CASE N&M P: Calculus, PHYS P301 or equivalent, and A222; or consent of instructor. Application of basic physical principles to investigation of the solar system, stars, and the Milky Way galaxy.
- AST-A 452 Extragalactic Astrophysics (3 cr.) CASE N&M P: Calculus, PHYS P301 or equivalent, and A222; or consent of instructor. (A451 is not P to A452.) Application of basic physical principles to investigation of galaxies and cosmology.
- AST-A 453 Topics in Astrophysics (3 cr.) CASE N&M P: Calculus, PHYS P301 or equivalent, and A222; or consent of instructor. Topics in astrophysics not covered extensively by other courses. The topic will vary depending on instructor. Possible topics include the solar system, celestial mechanics, astrobiology, stellar interiors, stellar atmospheres, stellar populations, galaxy dynamics, and cosmology. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
- AST-S 499 Honors Research (3–6 cr.) P: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Students will carry out astronomical research closely supervised by a faculty member in the department. Students will write a research report and give an oral presentation during the second semester of their senior year. May be taken two semesters for a maximum of 6 credit hours.