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horse head nebula

Horse Head Nebula (NASA)

MWF 10:00-11:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 49445
MWF 11:00-12:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 49450


Edward L Robinson

RLM 17.318 · (512) 471-3401 · email

Courses - Fall '09  |  Course Website

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--Printable syllabus (pdf)


Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:00-2:00 PM
Other times by appointment

Required Textbook:

"21st Century Astronomy" (Second Edition)
by Hester et al.

Course Email Address:

Course WEB Site:

Student-Contact TA:

Sehyun Hwang
Tel: 471-3466
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00-2:00 PM
Other times by appointment
Office Hours Location: RLM 15.202 (Peridier Library)

Course Description: AST 301 is an introductory course in astronomy for non-science majors. No previous course in astronomy is required. The main topics of the course are:

  • The solar system - the planets and their moons, asteroids, comets; planet formation.

  • Stars and stellar evolution - star birth and the formation of planets, and star death, including neutron stars, black holes, supernovae.

  • Galaxies - normal and not-so-normal galaxies, quasars and supermassive black holes, dark matter.

  • Cosmology - the expansion of the universe, its origin in the Big Bang, dark energy and the future of the universe.

The course emphasizes the physical processes at work in the universe and the methods we use to learn about the universe. There is little about sky lore. Homeworks might include small observing projects but there are no true laboratory exercises in the course; this is a lecture course, not a lab course.

The course often requires mathematics at the level of first-year algebra. If you are uncomfortable with this level of mathematics, you should consider a different section of AST 301.

Course Organization: The primary source of information for the course is the textbook and you will be responsible for all material in the textbook unless specifically told otherwise. You must, therefore, buy or have access to the textbook.

The course lectures will generally be devoted to the most important, most difficult, and most interesting subjects from the text. Attendance at the lectures is not required but you should attend them regularly anyway because material not in the textbook will sometimes be discussed and you will be required to know that material.

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