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 granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 111, 130 or 221. (4). (NS).

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

102. Introductory Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 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 - MacAlpine; Section 008 Gaskell)

111. Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled 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]

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

Section 001. 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, a midterm and a final exam, and laboratory exercises. Laboratory sections, which meet for two evening hours each week, will include planetarium demonstrations and observations with telescopes (weather permitting) mounted on Angell Hall. Cost:3 WL:4 (MacAlpine).

Section 007. 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).

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. Cost:2 WL:3 (J.Clarke)

222. General Astronomy: Astrophysics and the Universe. Astronomy 221 and Math 115 or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 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:3] [WL:3] (Teske)

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, Gaskell, Sears)

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

The text is: The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, by Frank H. Shu (University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA). The overall structure of Astro. 422 is like that of 421; however, 421 is not a prerequisite to 422. The lectures will not "follow" the text. The following topics will be highlighted: Atomic and Molecular Structure, Radiative and Convective Energy Transfer, The Structure and Composition of Stellar Atmospheres, The Equations of Stellar Structure and Stellar Models, Interstellar Matter, Galaxies, and Cosmological Models. These subjects will be illustrated in problem sets, many of which involve the use of programs written in Fortran and Pascal specifically for use in this course. (Cowley)


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