Undergraduate Classes for Astronomy Majors

CORE Courses (required for major)


AST 352K: General Stellar Astronomy
Properties of stars and starlight; principles of radiation; interpretation of stellar spectra. Observational techniques such as photometry, spectroscopy, telescopes and detectors; variable stars; binary stars.
Prerequisite: Physics 316 and 116L.


AST 353: Astrophysics
Survey of the physics of stellar and nonstellar radiation laws, stellar atmospheres and interiors; high-energy astrophysics.
Prerequisite: Physics 316 and 116L.


AST 358: Galaxies and the Universe
Our Milky Way Galaxy and its constituents; stars and interstellar matter. Properties of other galaxies; galaxy interactions and mergers; expansion and evolution of the Universe.
Prerequisite: Physics 316 or the equivalent; Astronomy 352K or 307 are recommended but not required.

Other Offerings
(additional courses that can be used to fulfill elective credits)


AST 104: Undergraduate Astronomy Seminar
Designed for astronomy majors. Discussions about current astronomical research, with different topics emphasized each semester. One lecture hour a week for one semester. May be repeated twice for credit when the topics vary. Offered on the pass/fail basis only.


AST 152M: Stellar Astronomy Laboratory
An introduction to practical observational techniques in astronomy, designed for astronomy majors or advanced students in a physical science. Exercises on the spectroscopy, photometry, and positions of stars using a 16-inch telescope on campus. Three laboratory hours a week for one semester.
Prerequisite: Physics 316 and 116L; concurrent enrollment in Astronomy 352K is recommended.


AST 307: Introductory Astronomy
Introduction to astronomy for science and engineering students. The solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Only one of the following may be counted: AST 301, 302, 303, 307.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 305G or the equivalent or consent of instructor; high school trigonometry and physics are recommended.


AST 350L: History and Philosophy of Astronomy
Historical influence of astronomical concepts on social, economic, literary, and scientific life; the place of astronomy in society.
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; and Astronomy 301, 302, 303, or consent of instructor.


AST 352L: Positional, Dynamical, and Kinematical Astronomy
Coordinate systems and time; stellar positions and motions; the kinematics and dynamics of star clusters and galaxies.
Prerequisite: Credit or registration for Mathematics 427K.


AST 351: Astronomical Instrumentation
A hands-on course in computer-controlled optical instrumentation. This course is intended for Natural Science and Engineering students interested in the practical aspects of instrument design and construction. Topics covered include optics and optical design, electronics, machining and mechanical design, and computer interfacing. Students work in groups to learn the material and as teams design a computer-controlled optical instrument.
Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in Natural Science or Engineering, or consent of instructor.


AST 364: Solar System Astronomy
Modern Studies of the solar system,including properties of the planets and smaller bodies, and the origin of planetary systems.
Prerequisite: Physics 316 and 116L.


AST 376: Special Topics in Advanced Astronomy
Designed for science majors. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Up to six semester hours may be counted toward the major requirement for the Bachelor of Arts with a major in astronomy.
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and consent of instructor.

** Examples of the topics offered as AST 376 are as follows **

AST 376: A Practical Introduction to Research
This course aims at equipping undergraduates with skills that are relevant for research projects in astronomy and astrophysics, and thereby facilitate their involvement in the astronomy freshman research initiative, as well as in more advanced research projects in astronomy in their second year and beyond. The course will involve hands-on practical exercises, including visualization and analysis of astronomical data, statistical analysis, plotting and programming exercises with IDL, and training for papers and oral science presentations. The course is aimed at undergraduate majors in Astronomy and Physics, who are in their Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior years.

AST 376: Cosmology
This course will provide the basic physical principles of modern cosmology. The lectures will cover the expansion of the universe, kinematical and thermodynamical evolution of the universe, the Big Bang model, the origin of light elements, the cosmic microwave background, theory of cosmological fluctuations, formation of large-scale structure, cosmic inflation, the origin of cosmological fluctuations, dark matter and dark energy, and observational cosmology. Since some topics require knowledge of special and general relativity, introduction to special and general relativity needed for cosmology will be provided when it is necessary.
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and consent of instructor.

AST 376: Planets and Life
An interdisciplinary course that explores Astrobiology. This course involves readings in Chemistry, Planet Formation and Biology.
Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and consent of instructor.


AST 379H: Honors Tutorial Course
Research project and thesis for students electing to take the honors program in astronomy. May be repeated once for credit.
Prerequisite: Consent of the student's research supervisor and the departmental honors adviser.


AST 110K, 210K, 310K, 175, 275, 375: Conference Course
Supervised study of selected areas of astronomy, by arrangement with a faculty member. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.
Prerequisite: Written consent of the instructor. (in addition for 175, 275, 375: Upper-division standing).