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Astronomy 309N - Spring 2003
Lives and Deaths of the Stars
Unique No. 45980 · MWF 11:00 AM · WEL 3.502


Harriet Dinerstein
Office: RLM 16.324
Phone: (512) 471-3449


Zhaohui Shang
Office: RLM 17.312
Hours: M 4-5
Phone: (512) 471-7418

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Download Syllabus (pdf)
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Prerequisite and Course Description

Astronomy 309N is an elective course for non-science majors. The only prerequisite is a one-semester college-level introductory course in astronomy (Ast 301 or equivalent). We will explore the nature and life cycles of stars both ordinary and exotic, and address some of the latest discoveries about these "engines of the Universe." By the end of the semester, you should have a deeper understanding of how the Sun and other stars create the energy that keeps them glowing; how stars are born, age, and die; artist's concept of extrasolar planet around HD 209458 what we now know about the planets around other stars; how stars create the elements of which the Earth and living things are made; the nature of cosmic explosions such as supernovae; and the evidence that black holes really do exist. We will also cover some basic ideas of the theories of relativity (in a qualitative way) and discuss what exciting discoveries might be made in the near future about the nature of our Universe, by planned space missions and experiments.


Extreme Stars by James Kaler (2001) and Cosmic Catastrophes by J. Craig Wheeler (2000). Both will be on reserve at the Undergraduate Library. Kaler's book will be used mostly in the first half of the course, and Wheeler's in the second half. These will be supplemented by some packets of Instructor's Notes posted on the class website, along with abbreviated versions of Power Point slides from the lectures. **Since Kaler's book may not be available at the UT Co-op until late January, you may wish to purchase it from another vendor or use the library copy. **

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28 January 2003
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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