Courses in Astronomy (Division 326)

INTRODUCTORY COURSES AND COURSES FOR NON-CONCENTRATORS. Astronomy 101/111 discusses our explorations of the solar system. Astronomy 102/112 deals with stars and the rest of the Universe beyond the solar system. Students in Astronomy 101 and 102 attend a weekly discussion section. Students in Astronomy 111 and 112 actively participate in a laboratory which meets in the evening each week. None of these courses is a prerequisite for any of the others. High school mathematics through plane geometry is useful. All students in each course will have opportunities for a planetarium visit and for evening observations with the telescopes mounted on Angell Hall.

101. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit is granted to those who have completed 111 or 130. (4). (NS).

SECTION 001. Astronomy 101 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 111 students. For course description, see Astronomy 111, section 001.

SECTION 007. Astronomy 101 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 111 students. For course description, see Astronomy 111, Section 007.

102. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit is granted to those who have completed 112 or 130. (4). (NS).

Astronomy 102 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 112 students (see course description below). Instead of laboratory sections, Astronomy 102 also incorporates weekly one-hour discussions and associated homework, which is considered along with examinations and quizzes for course grades.

111. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit is granted to those who have completed 101 or 130. (4). (NS).

Lectures (the same for both Astronomy 101 and 111) deal with the beginnings of astronomy, motions of bodies in the solar system, properties of light and atoms, the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, individual planets and satellites, asteroids, comets and meteors, and the origin of the solar system and life. This course is intended for non-science concentrators with a basic high school math background. Recent results from the space program will be emphasized. Astronomy 111 has two two-hour laboratory sections every week. Astronomy 101 has only discussion sections. Course requirements include assigned reading, section meetings, homework observations, five short quizzes, a midterm and final examination. Laboratory sections include observations with telescopes. Textbook: UNIVERSE, by W. J. Kaufman, III (Freeman, 1985).

112. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit is granted to those who have completed 102 or 130. (4). (NS).

This course is intended primarily for non-science concentrators with a basic high school math background, who wish to learn about the phenomena and properties of the Universe beyond our solar system. Astronomy 101 and 111 are NOT pre-requisites. Lectures will inventory the different types of stars and examine how red giants, white dwarfs, black holes, supernovae, and people all fit together in a grand, remarkable scheme. The larger picture includes our Milky Way system, less hospitable exploding galaxies, and mysterious quasars. The present state of knowledge or speculation regarding the origin, ultimate fate, and space-time characteristics of our Universe will also receive special attention. It all ends somewhere, but where...and why? The course grades are to be derived from midterm and final examinations, scheduled quizzes over reading assignments, and laboratory exercises. Laboratory sections, which meet for two evening hours each week, will include planetarium demonstrations and observations with telescopes mounted on Angell Hall.

130. Explorations in Astronomy. No credit is granted to those who have completed 101, 102, 111, or 112. (4). (NS).

This course covers selected topics concerning the stars, the galaxy, and the universe. Some of the subjects discussed are: the results of the space program, the life history of stars, interstellar nebulae, pulsars, black holes, normal and peculiar galaxies, quasars, and the evolution of the universe. There are four lectures per week and observations with telescopes and a planetarium visit will be arranged.

221. General Astronomy: The Solar System. Prior or concurrent election of Math. 115. No credit is granted to those who have completed 101, 111, or 130. (4). (NS).

Astronomy 221-222 is a two-term introductory sequence intended primarily for students in the sciences and engineering. Offered in the Fall Term, Astronomy 221 deals with the astronomy and physics of the solar system. Topics covered include: (1) principles of orbit theory; (2) interior structure, surface features and atmospheres of the planets; (3) the minor constituents of the solar system; (4) the sun. Laboratory work will include observations with the telescopes atop Angell Hall, experiments and discussions. Homework problems are assigned almost weekly. Some outside reading will be assigned. There will be two midterm examinations and a final examination.

261/NOEP 301. Navigation. (2). (Excl).

See Navy Officer Education 301. (Lt. Oldani)

321. Solar-Terrestrial Relations. Four credits of astronomy. (2). (NS).

The course is for students who wish to learn more about the Earth and its environment in space. The first part covers the physics of surface features of the quiet sun seen in the visible UV, x-ray and radio parts of the spectrum and the effect of the solar wind on the interplanetary space. Part two deals with the Earth, its magnetic field, atmosphere, ionosphere, radiation belts and magnetosphere. The third part concentrates on the influence of solar activity on the Earth and its environment. Reading of selected articles in several books and in Scientific American and other popular journals is required. There will be two hour exams and the final. Advanced students may write a term paper on a selected topic. (Elste)

421. Advanced General Astronomy. Phys. 140 and 240 and Math. 116, or the equivalent; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

50% of the course will be based on independent reading of William K. Hartmann's Moons and Planets (second edition). The remaining 50% of the course will be based on material presented in the lectures. This is divided into 3 parts. Part I deals with the mechanics of the solar system, and covers topics such as the two-body problem, N-body relations, the virial theorem, potential about an oblate spheroid, equations of rigid-body motion, etc. Part II treats geochemistry and cosmochemistry with special reference to the solar system. Included topics are fundamental principles of thermodynamics and chemical reactions, meteorites, geochemical classification of the elements, models of the solar nebula, condensation sequences from the solar nebula and the composition of planets. Part III deals with planetary structure, and emphasizes comparative planetology of the moon and terrestrial planets. The level of difficulty will be similar to that of junior and senior courses in physics and chemistry. (Cowley)

429. Senior Seminar. Open only to senior concentrators. Astronomy 421 and 422, or permission of department. (2). (Excl).

This seminar course meets once a week to discuss selected topics of current interest in astronomy, and to review and critique the student's writings on astronomical topics. In addition to taking an active part in the discussions, students are expected to read selected articles in the astronomical literature and write short papers on topics related to the discussions and readings.


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