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COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
ASTRONOMY

Detailed course offerings (Time Schedule) are available for

ASTR 101 Astronomy (5) NW, QSR
Introduction to the universe, with emphasis on conceptual, as contrasted with mathematical, comprehension. Modern theories, observations; ideas concerning nature, evolution of galaxies; quasars, stars, black holes, planets, solar system. Not open for credit to students who have taken ASTR 102 or ASTR 301; not open to upper-division students majoring in physical sciences or engineering. Offered: AWSpS.
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ASTR 102 Introduction to Astronomy (5) NW, QSR
Emphasis on mathematical and physical comprehension of nature, the sun, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Designed for students who have had algebra and trigonometry and high school or introductory-level college physics. Cannot be taken for credit in combination with ASTR 101 or ASTR 301. Offered: A.
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ASTR 105 Exploring the Moon (5) NW Smith
Examines the questions why did we go to the moon, what did we learn, and why do we want to go back. Offered: W.
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ASTR 115 Astrobiology: Life in the Universe (5) NW R. BUICK, D. CATLING, V. MEADOWS, W. SULLIVAN
Introduction to the new science of astrobiology, study of the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and the search for microbial and intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Designed for non-science, liberal arts majors. Offered: jointly with ASTBIO 115/BIOL 114/ESS 115/OCEAN 115.
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ASTR 150 The Planets (5) NW, QSR
For liberal arts and beginning science students. Survey of the planets of the solar system, with emphases on recent space exploration of the planets and on the comparative evolution of the Earth and the other planets. Offered: AWSpS.
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ASTR 160 Introduction to Exoplanets (3/5) NW
Introduction to exoplanets. Explores how studies of extrasolar planets have changed our views of how planets and planetary systems form and evolve. Examines the science behind the search for Earth-like planets and life beyond our Solar System. May not earn credit if credit earned in ASTR 419. Recommended: one 100- or 200-level astronomy course.
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ASTR 190 Modern Topics in Astronomy for Non-Science Majors (3/5, max. 10) NW
Topics of current interest, such as origin of chemical elements, novae and supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, active galaxies, quasars, or interstellar medium and astrochemistry. Choice of topics depends on instructor and class interest. Prerequisite: either one 100- or one 200-level ASTR course.
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ASTR 192 Pre-Major in Astronomy Research Seminar (3-5) NW
Introduction to astronomical computing and research methods for students interested in astronomy and in the premajor-in-astronomy program. Co-requisite: ASTR 102. Offered: A.
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ASTR 201 The Universe and the Origin of Life (5) NW, QSR
Sequel to 101 or 102, emphasizing modern views of the atomic and molecular evolution of the universe from the initial "big bang" through the formation of the solar system and the emergence of biological forms on the earth. The latter part of the course considers questions about the existence of, and communication with, extraterrestrial intelligent life, and finally the ultimate fate of the cosmos.
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ASTR 210 Distance and Time: Size and Age in the Universe (5) NW, QSR
Space and time as basic concepts in physical science. How we define and measure them, how the concepts have developed over the centuries, and how modern measurements allow us to determine the size and age of the universe.
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ASTR 211 The Universe and Change (5) NW, QSR
Gravity as central to the form and evolution of the universe. Conceptual formulation of gravity from the Renaissance to Einstein. Its consequences from the falling of an apple to the slowing of the expansion of the universe. Offered: W.
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ASTR 270 Public Outreach in Astronomy (3) VLPA/NW
Emphasis on giving effective scientific presentations, developing and giving educational programs to school-age groups, and communicating knowledge of astronomy to others. Give talks at the Jacobsen Observatory on campus and presentations in the Astronomy Department's planetarium. Learn to operate a telescope and the planetarium equipment. Prerequisite: one astronomy course at either the 100-, 200-, or 300-level. Offered: Sp.
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ASTR 300 Introduction to Programming for Astronomical Applications (2) QSR Smith
Introduction to programming needed for astronomical applications: Linux operating systems, PERL, IDL. Recommended for astronomy majors planning to take 400-level astronomy courses, to pursue individual research projects, or to apply for research experience for undergraduate appointments. Prerequisite: either ASTR 321, ASTR 322, or ASTR 323, any of which may be taken concurrently. Offered: AW.
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ASTR 301 Astronomy for Scientists and Engineers (3) NW
Introduction to astronomy for students in the physical sciences or engineering. Topics similar to ASTR 101, but the approach uses more mathematics and physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 123.
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ASTR 313 Science in Civilization: Physics and Astrophysics Since 1850 (5) I&S/NW
Organization and pursuit of the physical and astrophysical sciences, focusing on the major unifying principles of physics and astronomy and the social and cultural settings in which they were created. Offered: jointly with HSTCMP 313.
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ASTR 321 The Solar System (3) NW
Solar system; planetary atmospheres, surfaces and interiors, the moon, comets. The solar wind and interplanetary medium. Formation of the solar system. Prerequisite: PHYS 224 which may be taken concurrently. Offered: A.
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ASTR 322 The Contents of Our Galaxy (3) NW
Introduction to astronomy. Basic properties of stars, stellar systems, interstellar dust and gas, and the structure of our galaxy. Prerequisite: PHYS 224 which may be taken concurrently; recommended: PHYS 225 which may be taken concurrently. Offered: W.
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ASTR 323 Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (3) NW
Galaxies, optical and radio morphology and properties. Clusters of galaxies, radio sources, and quasars. Observational cosmology. Prerequisite: ASTR 322 which may be taken concurrently. Offered: Sp.
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ASTR 400 Undergraduate Research Seminar (1) NW
Introduces research topics conducted by astronomy faculty. Each week a faculty member describes her/his current research and the opportunities available for interested majors to participate in the research. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: A.
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ASTR 419 Exoplanets (3) NW
Exoplanet properties, discovery, and habitability. Examines the science involved in the search for Earth-like planets and life beyond our Solar System. Topics include: exoplanet environments, modelling exoplanet planetary systems, planetary habitability, detection, and properties of exoplanets. May not earn credit if credit earned in ASTR 160. Prerequisite: ASTR 321.
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ASTR 421 Stellar Observations and Theory (3) NW
Observations and theory of the atmospheres, chemical composition, internal structure, energy sources, and evolutionary history of stars. Prerequisite: ASTR 322. Offered: W.
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ASTR 423 High-Energy Astrophysics (3) NW
High-energy phenomena in the universe. Includes supernova, pulsars, neutron stars, x-ray and gamma-ray sources, black holes, cosmic rays, quasi stellar objects, active galactic nuclei, diffuse background radiations. Radiative emission, absorption processes, and models derived from observational data. Prerequisite: PHYS 224; PHYS 225.
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ASTR 425 Cosmology (3) QSR Agol, Connolly, Quinn
Studies the universe as a whole. Overview of fundamental observations of cosmology and an introduction to general relativity. Examines theories of the past and future history of the universe, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the origin of ordinary matter on the large-scale structure. Prerequisite: PHYS 224; PHYS 225.
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ASTR 427 Methods of Computational Astrophysics (3) NW Quinn
Provides hands-on experiences in writing computer programs to solve astrophysics problems. Topics include: interpolation and extrapolation, integration, ordinary, differential equations, root finding, optimization, linear algebra, Monte-Carlo partial differential equations, and parallel techniques.
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ASTR 480 Introduction to Astronomical Data Analysis (5) NW
Hands-on experience with electronic imaging devices (CCDs) and software for image reduction and analysis. Introduction to operating systems, reduction software, and statistical analysis with applications to CCD photometry. Prerequisite: ASTR 300; ASTR 323, which may be taken concurrently. Offered: Sp.
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ASTR 481 Introduction to Astronomical Observation (5) NW
Theory and practice of obtaining optical data at a telescope. Preparation, obtaining data with a CCD on a telescope, and subsequent data analysis for completion of a research project. Prerequisite: ASTR 480. Offered: S.
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ASTR 482 Writing Scientific Papers (2) Szkody
Principles of organizing, developing, and writing resumes, scientific research papers for journals, and astronomy articles for general public interest. Prerequisite: ASTR 481, ASTR 499, PHYS 494, PHYS 495, or PHYS 496, any of which may be taken concurrently. Offered: A.
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ASTR 497 Topics in Current Astronomy (1-3, max. 9) NW
Recent developments in one field of astronomy or astrophysics.
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ASTR 498 Independent Study (1-3, max. 15) NW
Astronomy-related projects supervised by a faculty member. Projects may be hardware, software, or library work in preparation for conducting astronomical research. Credit/no-credit only.
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ASTR 499 Undergraduate Research (*, max. 15)
Special astronomical problems and observational projects, by arrangement with instructor.
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ASTR 500 Practical Methods for Teaching Astronomy (1-3, max. 5)
Seminar in the preparation of lecture and workshop materials with emphasis on demonstration, visual aids, and the evaluation of students' progress. Credit/no-credit only.
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ASTR 507 Physical Foundations of Astrophysics I (3)
Thermodynamics from an astronomer's point of view: black body radiation, basic radiative transfer, equation of state, degenerate gases, crystallization at high density.
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ASTR 508 Physical Foundations of Astrophysics II (3)
Introduction to astronomical hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics, basic theorems and application to stellar and interstellar magnetic fields. Introduction to plasma physics and waves in a plasma.
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ASTR 509 Physical Foundations of Astrophysics III (3)
Potential theory as applied to astrophysical systems. Orbits. Integrals of motion. Equilibrium and stability of stellar systems. Encounters of stellar systems. Kinetic theory of collisional systems. Applications of stellar dynamics to star clusters, galaxies, and large-scale structure.
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ASTR 510 Nuclear Astrophysics (3)
Big bang nucleosynthesis; nuclear reactions in stars; solar neutrinos and neutrino oscillations; core-collapse supernovae; nucleosynthesis in stars, novae, and supernovae; neutron starts; composition and sources of cosmic rays; gamma ray bursts; atmospheric neutrinos. Offered: jointly with PHYS 554; A.
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ASTR 511 Galactic Structure (3)
Kinematics, dynamics, and contents of the galaxy. Spiral structure. Structure and evolution of galaxies.
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ASTR 512 Extragalactic Astronomy (3)
Types of galaxies. Integrated properties, content, and dynamics. Extragalactic distance scale, groups and clusters. Radio sources. Observational cosmology.
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ASTR 513 Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (3)
Big bang cosmology; relativistic world models and classical tests; background radiation; cosmological implications of nucleosynthesis; baryogenesis; inflation; galaxy and large-scale structure formation; quasars; intergalactic medium; dark matter.
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ASTR 519 Radiative Processes in Astrophysics (3)
Theory and applications of astrophysical radiation processes: transfer theory; thermal radiation; theory of radiation fields and radiation from moving charges; bremsstrahlung; synchrotron; Compton scattering; plasma effects.
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ASTR 521 Stellar Atmospheres (3)
Theory of continuous radiation and spectral line formation. Applications to the sun and stars. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.
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ASTR 531 Stellar Interiors (4)
Physical laws governing the temperature, pressure, and mass distribution in stars. Equation of state, opacity, nuclear energy generation, computational methods. Models of main sequence stars and star formation. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.
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ASTR 532 Stellar Evolution (3)
Theoretical and observational approaches to stellar evolution. Structure of red giants, supernovae, and white dwarfs. Observations of star clusters and the chemical composition of stars as they relate to the theory of stellar structure. Prerequisite: ASTR 531.
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ASTR 541 Interstellar Matter (3)
Physical conditions and motions of neutral and ionized gas in interstellar space. Interstellar dust, magnetic fields, formation of grains, clouds, and stars. Prerequisite: modern physics or permission of instructor.
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ASTR 555 Planetary Atmospheres (3)
Problems of origin, evolution, and structure of planetary atmospheres, emphasizing elements common to all; roles of radiation, chemistry, and dynamical processes; new results on the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and other solar system objects in the context of comparative planetology. Offered: jointly with ATM S 555/ESS 581.
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ASTR 557 Origin of the Solar System (3)
Nebular and nonnebular theories of the solar system origin; collapse from the interstellar medium, grain growth in the solar nebula, formation of planetesimals and planets, early evolution of the planets and other possible planetary systems; physical and chemical evidence upon which the ideas concerning the origin of the solar system are based. Offered: jointly with ESS 583.
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ASTR 561 High Energy Astrophysics (3)
Observed properties of supernovae, x-ray stars, radio sources, quasars. Theories explaining such objects. Origin of cosmic rays.
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ASTR 575 Seminar in Astronomy (1-2, max. 20)
Discussion of recent research in astronomy and astrophysics. Prerequisite: permission of department. Credit/no-credit only.
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ASTR 576 Astronomy Colloquium (1, max. 20)
Current research topics in astronomy and astrophysics. Prerequisite: permission of department. Credit/no-credit only.
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ASTR 581 Techniques in Optical Astronomy (5)
Theory and practice of obtaining optical data. Astronomical photoelectric photometers, spectrographs, interferometers, CCDs, and infrared equipment. Data-reduction techniques with emphasis on statistical analysis using digital computers. Observations with MRO thirty-inch telescope.
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ASTR 597 Topics in Observational Astrophysics (1-5, max. 20)
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ASTR 598 Topics in Theoretical Astrophysics (1-5, max. 20)
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ASTR 599 Advanced Astronomy Seminar (1-3, max. 6)
Practical exercises in astrophysics. Emphasis on methods and techniques of simulation, acquisition, evaluation, and analysis of observational data and its interpretation using models of astrophysical systems. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
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ASTR 600 Independent Study or Research (*-)
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ASTR 700 Master's Thesis (*-)
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ASTR 800 Doctoral Dissertation (*-)
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