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Courses - Spring 2022
ASTR
Astronomy Department Site
ASTR100
Introduction to Astronomy
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: PS
GenEd: DSNS
Credit only granted for: ASTR100, ASTR101, or ASTR120.
An elementary course in descriptive astronomy, especially appropriate for non-science students. Topics include the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, and nebulae, galaxies, and evolution of the Universe.
Discussion sections do not meet the first week of classes. Attend lecture before coming to discussion section.
ASTR101
Credits: 4
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: PL
GenEd: DSNL
Credit only granted for: ASTR100, ASTR101, or ASTR120.
Descriptive astronomy, appropriate for non-science majors. Sun, moon, planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies and evolution. Laboratory exercises include use of photographic material, computer simulations, and standard laboratory equipment.
Discussion sections and lab do not meet the first week of classes. Attend lecture before coming to discussion or lab section. Students must pay a $50.00 Laboratory Materials fee.
ASTR121
Introductory Astrophysics II - Stars and Beyond
Credits: 4
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: PL
GenEd: DSNL
Prerequisite: ASTR120 and MATH140; or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
For students majoring in astronomy or with a strong interest in science. Includes instrumentation, stellar properties, stellar evolution, structure of the galaxy, other galaxies, large scale structure, Big Bang Theory, and future of the universe.
ASTR220
Collisions in Space - The Threat of Asteroid Impacts
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: PS
GenEd: DSNS, SCIS
Restriction: Must not be in Astronomy program.
Additional information: Course is open to Astronomy and Planetary Sciences minors.
How can we defend our planet against a possible asteroid impact? Collisions in Space will evaluate the threat of asteroid impacts with the Earth using knowledge of asteroid characteristics and orbits. The merits of possible defense plans will be discussed, as well as the budgetary and political concerns associated with implementing any such plan. Appropriate for non-science majors.
ASTR230
The Science and Fiction of Planetary Systems
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
CORE: PS
GenEd: DSNS, SCIS
Prerequisite: Must have math eligibility of MATH115 or higher; or MATH113.
Have you ever wondered if humans will ever terraform Mars or Europa so we could live there without a spacesuit? Has it ever crossed your mind how lucky you are that you live on a water-rich planet with an oxygen-rich atmosphere? Have you ever suspected novelists and scriptwriters of creating ridiculous planets that violate scientific laws? Does the fate of our planet's thin biosphere keep you up at night? How common is life in the Universe? These are difficult questions, but armed with the right information, you can answer all of them. The Science and Fiction of Planetary Systems will help you develop a deeper understanding of why planets are the way they are. Along the way, you'll see examples of mistakes made in classic science fiction movies, novels and short stories and get the chance to invent your own plausible planets!
ASTR288
(Perm Req)
Special Projects in Astronomy
Credits: 1 - 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F
A faculty sponsor must be found by the students prior to enrollment.
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR288I
(Perm Req)
Special Projects in Astronomy; Introduction to the Astronomy Major
Credits: 1
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Restriction: Permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.

Introduces new Astronomy majors to the possible career paths that they might choose upon completion of an undergraduate Astronomy degree, soft skills that would be useful in these possible careers, and useful skills and knowledge to better prepare them for research as an undergraduate.
ASTR300
Stars and Stellar Systems
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSNS
Prerequisite: ASTR100 or ASTR101; and completion of the CORE Distributive Studies requirement in Mathematics and Sciences or General Education Fundamental Studies requirement in Mathematics. Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Designed primarily for non-science majors. Study of stars-types, properties, evolution, and distribution in space; supernovae, pulsars, and black holes.
ASTR315
Astronomy in Practice
Credits: 4
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSNL or DSSP
Restriction: Must not be in Astronomy program.
Additional information: Appropriate for non-science majors.
Students learn astronomy research techniques and contribute significantly to the existing body of astronomical knowledge. Students apply methods and tools such as celestial coordinates, telescopes and CCD cameras, and appropriate analysis software to a specific observational goal. Students produce a work detailing their scientific result which will be submitted for publication in a professional venue. Each semester, the course focuses on a specific astronomical topic or type of object, such as asteroids, extrasolar planets, supernovae in other galaxies, quasars, etc.
ASTR320
Theoretical Astrophysics
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F
Prerequisite: ASTR121; and (PHYS270 and PHYS271; or PHYS273). Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Application of selected physics concepts in an astrophysical context. Topics would include gravity (Keplerian motion, Virial theorem, Roche limit, dynamical friction); gas dynamics (hydrostatic equilibrium, stellar models, spiral density waves), thermodynamics and statistical physics (Boltzmann distribution, Wien displacement, convective instability, degenerate gas); atomic physics (quantum principles, H atom, permitted and forbidden lines); radiation processes (line radiation, opacity).
ASTR330
Solar System Astronomy
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSNS
Prerequisite: ASTR100 or ASTR101; and completion of the CORE Distributive Studies requirement in Mathematics and Sciences or the General Education Fundamental Studies requirement in Mathematics. Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Credit only granted for: ASTR330 or GEOL212.
Designed primarily for non-science majors. The structure of planets and of their atmospheres, the nature of comets, asteroids, and satellites. Comparison of various theories for the origin of the solar system. Emphasis on a description of recent data and interpretation.
ASTR350
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
GenEd: DSNS
Prerequisite: ASTR100 or ASTR101; and completion of the CORE Distributive Studies requirement in Mathematics and Sciences or General Education Fundamental Studies requirement in Mathematics. Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Credit only granted for: ASTR 398B or ASTR 350.
Formerly: ASTR 398B.
Black holes are the most exotic prediction of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and, amazingly, the Universe seems to manufacture these bizarre objects in copious numbers. As well as being the ultimate laboratory for studying the nature of space and time, they drive some of the most energetic and extreme phenomena known to astronomers (with quasars and gamma-ray bursts being just a couple of examples). In this introduction to the physics and astrophysics of black holes, we start by examining the basic physics of black holes, which fundamentally means understanding gravity. We then look at the nature of stellar-mass black holes and supermassive black holes. We will discuss the fairly recent realization that black holes may be crucial agents for regulating the growth of galaxies. Finally, we dive into the realm of theoretical physics and probe how black holes may provide a route for uncovering new laws of physics governing the structure of space and time.
ASTR399
(Perm Req)
Credits: 1 - 16
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR421
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: ASTR121; and (PHYS271 and PHYS270; or PHYS273). Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Introduction to structure, kinematics, and dynamics of normal and peculiar galaxies. Quantitative descriptions of normal spiral galaxies (like our Milky Way) and elliptical galaxies will be followed by more exotic considerations such as interacting and merging galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.
ASTR430
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Prerequisite: ASTR121; and (PHYS271 and PHYS270; or PHYS273). Or permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Formation and evolution of the Solar System. Planetary surfaces, interiors, atmospheres, and magnetospheres. Asteroids, comets, planetary satellites, and ring systems. Emphasis on using basic physics to understand observed properties of the Solar System. Intended for students majoring in the physical sciences.
ASTR498
(Perm Req)
Special Problems in Astronomy
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR610
(Perm Req)
Astronomical Instrumentation and Techniques
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud, S-F
Restriction: Permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.
Review of Maxwell's equations; designs of telescopes, spectrographs, modern detectors; basic concepts for radio detectors and telescopes; interferometry and data processing.
ASTR688C
(Perm Req)
Special Topics in Modern Astronomy; Seminar in Modern Astronomy Research
Credits: 1
Grad Meth: S-F
ASTR688E
(Perm Req)
Special Topics in Modern Astronomy; Exoplanetary Astrophysics
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, Aud
Restriction: Permission of CMNS-Astronomy department.

A survey of the exoplanet sub-field of astronomy. Topics presented will include exoplanet detection, formation, interiors, and atmospheres. The current state of observations and theory will be explored. Connections will be made to the fields of planetary science and stellar astrophysics.
ASTR699
(Perm Req)
Special Problems in Advanced Astronomy
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR799
Master's Thesis Research
Credits: 1 - 6
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR898
Pre-Candidacy Research
Credits: 1 - 8
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.
ASTR899
(Perm Req)
Doctoral Dissertation Research
Credits: 6
Grad Meth: S-F
Contact department for information to register for this course.