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W 2-3 · RLM 15.216B · Unique No. 47685

south pole telescope

South Pole Telescope (Vanderlinde)


Raphael Flauger

RLM 9.301 · · · email

Courses - Fall '10

Course Description

This course is intended to give astronomy majors a taste of modern topics of astronomical research. The typical format is to have a guest lecture by a different faculty member or research scientist each week. These lectures will cover a variety of topics.

Prerequisite. None

Instructor. Professor Gregory Shields. Office: RLM 15.224. Phone: 471-1402. E-mail: Office Hours: TuTh 10-11, W 3-4 or by appointment. Web page:

Grading: Course is pass/fail. Grade will be based on attendance, class participation, and activities. Required activities are:
1. Attend a star party at RLM or Painter Hall and turn in a one-page write it up describing your experience (due October 20)
2. Attend an Astronomy seminar or colloquium (by someone other than the person you interview) and write it up in one page (due November 3).
3. Interview an Astronomy faculty member or research scientist, read one of their research papers, and write a two page paper single spaced (due November 24).
4. Carry out several tasks to be assigned that will familiarize you with some of the tools UT astronomers use in their research.

Required text. None

Astronomy Department Policies. For information on Department policies and courses, see, which includes links to the Memo to Undergraduate Astronomy Students and the Course Catalog headnotes.

Star Parties. Every Wednesday evening, if the weather is clear, there will be astronomical viewing with the 16-inch telescope on the roof of RLM Hall. These sessions will start about 7 p.m. (8 p.m. when daylight saving time is in effect). There is also a 9-inch telescope on Painter Hall that is open to UT students on Friday evenings and to the general public on Saturday evenings. For observing hours, see the Department of Astronomy public outreach Web page at You can use the 9-inch yourself if you are checked out on it. McDonald Observatory in west Texas has star parties and public nights (see; phone 471-5285; recorded information is available at 1-877-984-7827).

About the Instructor: Professor Shields was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Nebraska and Kansas. He earned a B.S. in Physics from Stanford University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy at Caltech in 1973. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, he joined the UT faculty in 1974. He now holds the title of The Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor in Astronomy, and served as Chairman of the Department of Astronomy from 1990 to 1994. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses throughout his career at UT. His research interests include theoretical studies of ionized nebulae in galaxies and the nature of quasars. He has published numerous research papers and several popular articles in various areas of astronomy.