Currently Offered Courses - Fall 2019

ASTR 100 - Introduction to Astronomy

Introduces the student to the basic concepts of modern astronomy. Covers topics including the night sky; the solar system and its origin; the nature and evolution of stars; stellar remnants, including white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; extrasolar planetary systems; galaxies and quasars; dark matter and dark energy; the Big Bang and the fate of the universe; and life in the universe. Credit is not given for ASTR 100 if credit in any of ASTR 121, ASTR 122, ASTR 210, or equivalent has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.

ASTR 121 - Solar System and Worlds Beyond

Introductory survey of the Solar System; structure and motions of the Earth and Moon; planetary motions; natures and characteristics of the planets and smaller solar system bodies; planetary moons and rings; meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites; properties of the Sun; origin and evolution of the Solar System; discovery of extrasolar planetary systems; architecture of extrasolar planetary systems and comparison to our solar system; habitable extrasolar planets. Emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and scientific methods. Credit is not given for ASTR 121 if credit in either ASTR 100 or ASTR 210 has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.

ASTR 122 - Stars and Galaxies

Introduction to celestial objects and phenomena beyond the Solar System, and their governing basic physical principles; galaxies, quasars, and structure of the universe; dark matter and dark energy; the Big Bang and the fate of the universe; the Milky Way; the interstellar medium and the birth of stars; stellar distances, motions, radiation, structure, evolution, and remnants, including neutron stars and black holes. Emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and scientific methods. Credit is not given for ASTR 122 if credit in either ASTR 100 or ASTR 210 has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.

ASTR 150 - Killer Skies: Astro-Disasters

Exploration of the most dangerous topics in the Universe, such as meteors, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, magnetars, rogue black holes, colliding galaxies, quasars, and the end of the Universe, to name just a few.

ASTR 199 - Undergraduate Open Seminar

See course schedule for topics. Approved for Letter and S/U grading. May be repeated in the same term up to 5 hours or separate terms up to 8 hours, if topics vary.

ASTR 210 - Introduction to Astrophysics

Survey of modern astronomy for students with background in physics. Topics include: the solar system; nature and evolution of stars; white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; galaxies, quasars and dark matter; large scale structure of the universe; the Big Bang; and Inflation. Emphasis will be on the physical principles underlying the astronomical phenomena. Prerequisite: PHYS 211.

ASTR 350 - The Big Bang, Black Holes, and the End of the Universe

Studies the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe, and the scientific tools used to study these issues. Topics include aspects of special and general relativity; curved spacetime; the Big Bang; inflation; primordial element synthesis; the cosmic microwave background; dark matter and the formation of galaxies; observational evidence for dark matter, dark energy, and black holes. Credit is not given for ASTR 350 if credit in ASTR 406 has been earned. Prerequisite: ASTR 100, or ASTR 121, or ASTR 122, or ASTR 210, or consent of instructor.

ASTR 390 - Individual Study

Individual study at an advanced undergraduate level. May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 8 hours. Prerequisite: Consent of advisor and of faculty member who supervises the work.

ASTR 404 - Stellar Astrophysics

Introduction to astrophysical problems, with emphasis on underlying physical principles; includes the nature of stars, equations of state, stellar energy generation, stellar structure and evolution, astrophysical neutrinos, binary stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars and pulsars, and novae and supernovae. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 212; or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213, PHYS 214.

ASTR 406 - Galaxies and the Universe

Nature of the Milky Way galaxy: stellar statistics and distributions, stellar populations, spiral structure, the nucleus and halo. Nature of ordinary galaxies; galaxies in our Local Group, structure of voids and superclusters. Nature of peculiar objects: Seyfert galaxies, starburst galaxies, and quasars. Elementary aspects of physical cosmology. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 212; or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213, PHYS 214.

ASTR 490 - Senior Thesis

Research with thesis, under the direction of a faculty member in astronomy. This course is recommended for all students who plan to do research and graduate study, and it is a prerequisite for graduation with highest distinction in astronomy. In the term preceding their initial enrollment, those interested in taking the course should consult with an academic advisor as well as the potential research advisor. A thesis must be presented for credit to be received. 3 undergraduate hours. No graduate credit. Prerequisite: Two 400-level Astronomy courses and consent of academic advisor and of faculty member who supervises the work. Intended for Astronomy majors of senior standing.

ASTR 502 - Astrophysical Dynamics

Introduction to stellar dynamics and fluid dynamics. Topics include two body collisions, two body relaxation, potential theory for stellar systems, adiabatic invariance, stellar system models, Jeans equations, and the virial theorem. Also hydrodynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, waves, instabilities, shocks, explosions, density waves, and wind-blown bubbles. Prerequisite: PHYS 436, PHYS 427, and PHYS 486; or consent of instructor.

ASTR 510 - Computational Astrophysics

Prepares students to use numerical simulations to study complex problems in astrophysics and cosmology. Numerical methods and parallel computing will be covered together with the design, validation, and analysis of simulations. Emphasis is placed on solving ordinary and partial differential equations that arise in astrophysical contexts. Students work on assigned numerical problems and perform simulations using existing simulation codes, writing a final paper which presents the results of simulations using one of these codes. There are no formal prerequisites except knowledge of a scientific programming language such as Fortran, C, and C++. Familiarity with Unix/Linux and astronomical analysis tools is useful but not required.

ASTR 540 - Astrophysics

Same as PHYS 540. See PHYS 540.

ASTR 590 - Individual Study

Individual study or non-thesis research. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of adviser and of faculty member who supervises the work.

ASTR 596 - Seminar in Special Topics

Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ASTR 599 - Thesis Research

Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated.