Courses in Astronomy (DIVISION 326)


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, 130 or 221. (4). (NS).

Astronomy 101 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 111 students (see course description below). (Schombert)

102. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit is granted to those who have completed 112, 130 or 222. (4). (NS).

Astronomy 102 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 112 students (see course description below). Instead of laboratory sections, Astronomy 102 incorporates weekly one-hour discussions and associated homework, which is considered along with examinations and quizzes for course grades. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Section 001 - Gaskell; Section 010 Bergman)

111. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit is granted to those who have completed 101, 130 or 221. (4). (NS).

This course presents an introduction to the field of astronomy and astrophysics with an emphasis on the discoveries from space exploration. The first third of the course deals with understanding the history of astronomy, orbits, gravitation, optics and the properties of light and matter. The rest of the course explores the properties, origin and evolution of the major planets, asteroids, comets, the Sun and other components of the Solar System with particular emphasis on comparative aspects with respect to the Earth. The origin and formation of the Solar System and the origin of life will also be discussed. This course is intended for non-science concentrators with a basic high school math and science background. Astronomy 111 has a two-hour laboratory section every week. Astronomy 101 has a one-hour discussion section. Course requirements include assigned reading, section meetings, homework, observations, quizzes, midterm and a final examination. Laboratory sections include observations with telescopes. [COST:2] [WL:4] (Schombert)

112. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit is granted to those who have completed 102, 130 or 222. (4). (NS).

SECTION 001. This course is primarily intended for non-science concentrators, with only a basic high school math background. The course may be taken independently of Astronomy 101 and 111, which are NOT prerequisites (although there is some overlap of material). This course emphasizes things beyond the solar system. We will start by considering the appearance and motions of the sky as seen from the earth, and move out into space to consider the workings of gravity, ordinary stars, red giants, white dwarfs, supernovae, pulsars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, and the evolution and possible fate of the universe as a whole. In the process we will get a glimpse of how astronomers work. The course grade will be based on in-class tests and the scores in the laboratory or discussion sections. Laboratory sections meet for two evening hours per week and include planetarium demonstrations and observations with telescopes mounted on Angell Hall. [Cost:3] [WL:4] (Gaskell)

SECTION 006. This course is intended primarily for non-science concentrators with a background in basic high school mathematics. It treats the phenomena and properties of the Universe beyond the solar system. The course may be taken independently of Astronomy 101 and 111, which are NOT prerequisites. Lectures will describe the grand panorama of the cosmos. Beginning with the distances, motions, and individual characteristics of nearby stars, we will reach out to explore the structure and organization of the galaxy in which the sun is found, then extend our view to the distant galaxies and beyond. Special attention will be given to the present state of our understanding of the origin, structure, and fate of the Universe, and to the evidence that 90% of the mass in the Universe remains unseen. Grades will be based upon examinations and the grade in laboratory section (or discussion section). Section meetings will include planetarium demonstrations and constellation study, and observations with the telescopes on top of Angell Hall. [Cost:3] [WL:4] (Bregman)

204/AOSS 204. Introduction to Planetary and Space Science. High school mathematics through plane geometry and trigonometry. (3). (NS).

This course will present the development of space exploration with a concentration on the major scientific breakthroughs resulting from the exploration of the solar system by the U.S. and Soviet spacecraft. The course is intended for non-science majors: high school mathematics through plane geometry and trigonometry is recommended. The emphasis will be on comparative atmospheric phenomena, and the impact its study has had on the understanding of our own (terrestrial) environment. Topics will include the constraints that the environment of space places on the design of space probes, the history of space science in studying the Earth's environment, and the deep-space missions to the other planets and Comet Halley. (There will be two one-hour lectures a week, a one-hour discussion section, and two to three hourly exams. This course can be used to satisfy the LS&A science requirement. (J.Clarke)

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. [Cost:2] [WL:4]

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

See Navy Officer Education 301. (Lt. Dinobile)

321. Solar-Terrestrial Relations. Four credits of astronomy. (2). (Excl). 326;321

SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL RELATIONS. The course is for students interested in more details on Earth and its environment in space as learned from recent ground based as well as space observations. The first part deals with the physics of the surface features of the quiet sun observed in various parts of the spectrum from X-ray to radio wavelengths, as well as with the particle emission emanating from the million degree hot corona. Part two covers 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. We will also discuss the change of the total solar radiation with time, as measured from the Solar Maximum Mission satellite. The course requires reading of selected articles in several books, and in Scientific American, and other popular journals. 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).

30% of the course will be based on independent reading of William K. Hartmann's Moons and Planets (second edition). The remaining 70% 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. Weekly problem sets are assigned, some of which require running programs on the Campus Mainframe (MTS) or PC! While students are not required to write their own programs, a knowledge of one or more high level languages (Fortran, C, Pascal) will be useful. The level of difficulty will be similar to that of junior and senior courses in physics and chemistry. [Cost:2] [WL:3] (Cowley)

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