Courses in Astronomy (Division 326)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

Take me to the Fall Time Schedule

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, or 160. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).
Astronomy 101 students attend the same lectures as Astronomy 111 students (see course description below). (Seitzer and Sears)
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102. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 112, 130, or 160. (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 (Mateo and Bernstein)
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111. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 101, 130, or 160. (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 (Seitzer and Sears)
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112. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 102, 130, or 160. (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 (Mateo and Bernstein)
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120. Frontiers of Astronomy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Astro. 125. (3). (NS). (BS).
Astronomy is one of the most visible sciences, and regularly captures the public's attention. This class will overview our current understanding of the Universe, stressing discoveries of the last few years made with the new generation of Earth-based telescopes, and orbiting observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope and high-energy satellites. From this we will see how astronomers can probe the Universe, using only the stray light and particles from distant objects, and how the need to explain these data enriches our understanding of the physical world. The class will emphasize how scientific discoveries are made, the results circulated, and then popularized. By focusing on such recent discoveries as planetary systems, black hole candidates, 'dark matter' and the large scale structure of the Universe we will learn to examine critically astronomers' claims of exciting new results. The grade will be based on writing assignments, class participation, and quizzes. Cost:2 WL:4 (Hughes)
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125. Observational Astronomy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Astro. 120. (4). (NS). (BS).
This course will teach how astronomical discoveries are made, by addressing hypothetical `what if' questions in astronomy. These case studies will provide insights into fundamental physical laws that rule the universe, as well as demonstrating how fine-tuned we are with the special environment we live in. Students will gain experience with the optical telescopes on campus as well as with computers, which are necessary for some of the labs. Through hands-on observing experience, students will understand how astronomical research is conducted and will discuss the merits and pitfalls of such observations. Some of the topics to be featured include measuring the distance to the Moon, measuring the size and expansion rate of the Universe, the moons of Jupiter, the evolution of stars, the creation of the elements, and the cosmic background radiation of the Big Bang. The course structure involves writing assignments, laboratory and observing exercises, introductory lectures by the instructor, and discussions led by individual students. One evening observing laboratory per week. Some knowledge of basic physics is helpful but not necessary. Cost:2 WL:4
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127. Naked Eye Astronomy. (1). (NS).
The purpose of this course is to examine and understand the observational phenomena that everyone has observed and become familiar with. Students will learn about the nature of the most common astronomical objects that can be observed by eye, such as the Sun, Moon, planets, and the stars. Students will come to understand astronomical phenomena such as the motion of these objects on the sky and their implications: seasons, phases of the moon, solar and lunar eclipses, and the perplexing motions of the planets. Another important topic is the changing stellar sky, including the identification of the brighter stars and constellations during the different seasons. Transient objects such as comets and meteors will be discussed and a meteorite shower will be observed. The course will conclude with a discussion of ancient observatories and the historical efforts by humanity to measure important astronomical phenomena. A Planetarium will be one of the primary teaching facilities, but students will make their own observations and also work with computer programs, such as "The Sky." There will be homework assignments and a final. (Bregman)
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130. Explorations in Astronomy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 101, 102, 111, 112, or 160. (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. Whatare we 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)
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160. Introduction to Astrophysics. Math. 115, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 140. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 102, 112, or 130. (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 (Aller)
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204/AOSS 204/Geology 204. The Planets: Their Geology and Climates. High school mathematics through plane geometry and trigonometry. Those with credit for GS 113 may only elect Astro. 204 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).
See Geological Science 204. (Atreya and van Keken)
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261/Naval Science 301. Navigation. (2). (Excl). (BS).
See Naval Science 301. (Roper)
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389. Individual Studies in Astronomy. Permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.
Individual reading and study in astronomy under the guidance of the instructor.
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399. Introduction to Research. Permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.
For students in astronomy who are prepared to undertake a limited research project under the guidance of a member of the staff of the Department of Astronomy. Open to qualified students in other departments subject to approval by concentration advisors and members of the staff of the Department of Astronomy.
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402. Stellar Astrophysics. Math. 216, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 340. (3). (Excl). (BS).
This course is a survey of stellar astronomy and astrophysics, building upon an elementary background of basic physics: mechanics, and interaction of radiation and matter (atomic spectra). No astronomy course is a prerequisite, although students who have not had any astronomy may find it helpful to read an introductory text book for overviews. Course topics: basic stellar data; celestial mechanics and binary stars; stellar atmospheres and abundances of the chemical elements; stellar interiors, evolution, and nucleosynthesis; space distributions and motions of stars in the Galaxy. Course work includes homework exercises, hour exams, and a final exam. Text: Fundamental Astronomy, 3rd ed., by Karttunen et al. (eds.) For additional information, visit http://www.astro.lsa.umich.edu:80/users/cowley/ Cost:2 WL:3 (Cowley)
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405. High Energy Astrophysics. Math. 216, and prior or concurrent enrollment in Phys. 340. (3). (Excl). (BS).
Astronomical phenomena are often violent, naturally producing energetic particles under exotic circumstances. This course examines the underlying astrophysics of such objects. We begin with high energy radiation processes and basic fluid mechanics. This physics is applied to accretion onto black holes and other compact objects and the astronomical phenomena that result. We will also study supernovae, the origin of X- ray and Gamma- ray background radiation fields, Gamma-ray bursts, and cosmic rays. Cost:2 WL:3 (Bregman)
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429. Senior Seminar. Open only to senior concentrators. Astro. 401, 402, and 404. (2). (Excl). (BS).
Student-faculty discussion of selected problems in two or three currently active areas. This is also the Astronomy Department's senior writing course. Attendance at weekly department colloquia is required. (Aller and Bregman)
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