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

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

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 also 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 - MacAlpine; Section 008 Teske)

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. (Elste)

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 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 in-class tests, final examinations and laboratory exercise. Laboratory sections, which meet for two evening hours each week, will include planetarium demonstrations and observations with telescopes mounted on Angell Hall. [Cost:3] [WL:4] (MacAlpine)

Section 007. 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 pre-requisites. 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 three 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] (Teske)

222. General Astronomy: Astrophysics and the Universe. Astronomy 221 and Math 115 or permission of instructor. No credit is granted to those who have completed 102, 112, or 130. (4). (NS).

This course deals with the astronomy and physics of objects beyond the solar system. (1) Stars: distances, properties, interior structure, and evolution. (2) Our galaxy: structure, dynamics, interstellar matter. (3) Galaxies: distribution and properties. (4) Cosmology: present ideas about the origin, evolution and structure of the Universe. Textbook: INTRODUCTORY ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS (2ND ED.) by Zeilik and Smith. Some outside reading will be assigned. Laboratory work will include observations with the telescopes on Angell Hall, experiments, and discussions. There will be homework problems, two midterm examinations, a final examination, and a required term paper. [Cost:1] [WL:3] (Sears)

250. Cosmology and the Origin of Life. Astronomy 101, 102, 111, 112, or 130. (4). (NS).

This course is designed to be an exploration of the process by which the universe grows to a state of self-awareness, as defined by the emergence of intelligence which asks questions and seeks information about that very universe. More specifically, it is a study in the evolution of ideas, based on observations, and the development of a non-unique evolutionary model that describes the origin of the universe and development of life. Since the model proceeds on the basis of human perception of external events, it is highly imperfect and flawed because of the intrinsic uncertainty associated with observation. Thus, we will consider the question of "How do we know what we know?" as well as emphasizing that which we do not know. In the end we hope to arrive at a consistent evolutionary model for understanding the existence of intelligence and then explore the implications of that model in terms of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence. In this way this course is designed to ascertain if our species qualifies as an intelligent one. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Bothun)

361. Astronomical Techniques. Astronomy 222 or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

This course is intended primarily for students concentrating in astronomy, but other science and engineering students may elect it. It is an introduction to various techniques for obtaining and analyzing observational data. The areas covered are stellar trigonometric distance (parallax), imaging and photometry with electron detectors, radiometric techniques, and interferometry. In addition, early in the course there will be a series of lectures on error theory and least squares, to provide expertise needed in the analysis of observational data. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory period each week. Course work will also include homework exercises and reading in original sources but there are no examinations. [Cost:1] [WL:3] (Aller, Bothun, Sears)

422. Advanced General Astronomy. Astronomy 421 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction, at an advanced undergraduate level, to the study of the universe beyond the solar system. The lectures will include the topics: observational data and theoretical concepts of stellar atmospheres, theory of stellar interiors and evolution, the motions and spatial distributions of stars in our galaxy, the interstellar medium, star-forming regions, supernova remnants, galactic structure, normal external galaxies, active galaxies and quasars, and the large scale structures and evolution of the universe. The level of difficulty is comparable to the 400 level physics courses. The course is intended both for astronomy concentrators and upper class engineering and physical science students. [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Bregman)

520. Cosmochemistry. Astronomy 421, 422 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Survey of the composition and chemical history of matter in the universe. The course begins with a review of mineralogy, petrology (the study of rocks), and chemical thermodynamics. This background is applied to the theory of formation of the terrestrial planets, including the condensation and differentiation of solid materials in the solar nebula, followed by the chemical history of the earth and theories of the origin of the moon. Radioisotope dating is discussed and the concepts applied. Meteorites are discussed as a key to the primitive composition of the solar nebula; the newly discovered isotopic anomalies and their implications are highlighted. The second half of the course deals with the composition of matter beyond the solar system. A resume of atomic and nuclear structure is given. Techniques and the results of chemical analysis of stars and interstellar material are followed by current notions of the nuclear history of matter, starting with the formation of the lightest elements in the big bang, and continuing through stellar nucleosynthesis. Abundances in external galaxies are reviewed, and examined within the context of modes of galaxy formation and history isolated evolution, cannibalism and mergers. (Cowley)


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