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 telescopes.

101. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 111, 130, 160, or 221. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

Astronomy 101 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 111 students (see course description below). (Section 001:Bernstein; Section 006:Sears)

102. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 112, 130, 160, or 222. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

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 exercises, which is considered along with examinations and quizzes for course grades. Cost:2 WL:4 (Section 001:MacAlpine; Section 006:Seitzer)

111. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 101, 130, 160, or 221. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

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 (Section 001:Berstein; Section 005:Sears)

112. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 102, 130, 160, or 222. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

This course is intended primarily for non-science concentrators, who wish to understand the phenomena and properties of the universe beyond our solar system. There are no astronomy prerequisites, and a basic high school math background (e.g., not calculus) will suffice. Students examine the widest possible range of interrelated natural phenomena, from sub-atomic particles to the Universe as a whole. Lectures inventory the different types of stars and examine how red giants, white dwarfs, black holes, supernovae, and people all fit together in one grand, remarkable scheme. The larger picture includes our Milky Way galaxy, less hospitable exploding galaxies, and enigmatic quasars. The present state of knowledge or speculation regarding the origin and ultimate fate of our universe will also receive special attention. It all came from somewhere, but where...and why? Course grades will be derived from scheduled quizzes or exams, and laboratory exercises. Laboratory sections, which meet for two evening hours each week, will include planetarium demonstrations and observations with telescopes (weather permitting). Cost:2 WL:4 (Section 001:MacAlpine; Section 006:Seitzer)

120. Frontiers of Astronomy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Astro. 125. (3). (NS).

Astronomy is one of the most visible sciences, with exciting discoveries reported regularly in the media. In this class, students will study the forefront astronomy and astrophysics behind the stories, which will feature the topics of black holes, the nature of dark matter, the Big Bang model of the universe, and the formation of structures in the universe. We will highlight observations from NASA's Great Observatory program, which features the Hubble Space Telescope, and from the new generation of large telescopes on Earth. Students will learn how discoveries are made, with a discussion of the climate surrounding the work, the scientists involved in the discoveries, and the twisting path of scientific discovery, which is rarely visible to the public. There will be in-depth discussions of how such scientific research can be interpreted to reveal fundamental information about the universe in which we live. Also, we will examine the process by which discoveries are reported in the media, and in some cases, how the import of the work becomes badly distorted in this process. Cost:2 WL:3 (Bregman)

130. Explorations in Astronomy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 101, 102, 111, 112, 160, 221, or 222. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

This course is a one-term exploration of a few selected topics representing all of astronomy. Here are a few examples of possible topics. (1) The stars: how we are able to learn about them, how they evolve and die, how they produce chemical elements and generate energy. (2) The formation of stars and solar systems. What we are learning about star formation. How our solar system tells us about star formation. Recent developments in our understanding of the planets during our age of planetary exploration. (3) Cosmology: the expansion of the universe, and its eventual fate. The formation of structure and of galaxies, the cosmic radiation fields. This course will include assigned reading, some homework, quizzes, a midterm and a final. Cost:2 WL:4 (Richstone)

160. Introduction to Astrophysics. Math. 115, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 140; or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 102, 112, 130, 221, or 222. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

Some of the most exciting phenomena and concepts in astronomy and astrophysics are explored in this survey course. One major theme is the structure and evolution of stars from their birth in giant molecular clouds through their death as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. Another important theme is galaxies, with discussions about the missing or dark matter in galaxies, galaxy-galaxy interactions, and the large-scale distribution of galaxies in the Universe. We conclude with an examination of the Big Bang, the Inflationary Universe, and the Cosmic Background radiation. This course is directed toward students with an interest in science and mathematics. There are problem sets and a weekly two-hour laboratory using telescopes. Cost:2 WL:3 (Mateo)

402. Stellar Astrophysics. Math. 216, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 242; or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed Astro. 422. (3). (Excl). (BS).

The lectures begin with a survey of the observational data of stellar astronomy: distances, masses, colors, spectra, binary stars, open and globular clusters, and the HR Diagram. The following topics will then be highlighted: Atomic and Molecular Structure, Radiative and Convective Energy Transfer, The Structure and Composition of Stellar Atmospheres, The Equations of Stellar Structure, Stellar Models, Stellar Evolution, and Nucleosynthesis. The lectures will not follow the text, which will be used to fill in areas not specifically covered in class. Planned text: Fundamental Astronomy (Karttunen et al.). Cost:2 WL:3 (Cowley)

403. Astrophysics of the Interstellar Medium. Math. 216, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 240; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). (BS).

The interstellar medium (the gas between the stars) comprises a wide variety of materials, ranging from very cold hydrogen gas to high energy cosmic rays that interact closely, and sometimes violently with stars and the host galaxy. This course is intended for students with backgrounds in any field of science who wish to learn about this matter that pervades space. We discuss interaction of this material with radiation (light, radio waves and X-rays), the heating and ionization of gas by hot stars and supernova remnants, the structure and motions of the gas, interstellar dust, the cold molecular clouds where new stars are formed and the role that magnetic fields play in the interstellar medium. Recent discoveries are highlighted. Classes will have a lecture format with ample opportunity for discussion. Grades will be derived primarily from performance on homework problems and examinations. (Aller & Bregman)

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