Coronet (NASA/Chandra)

TTh 9:30 - 11:00 · RLM 15.216B · Unique No. 48495


Harriet Dinerstein

RLM 16.324 · (512) 471-3449 · email

Courses - Spr '09  |  Course Website

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COURSE DESCRIPTION: Astronomy 307 is a one-semester introductory survey course on modern astronomy, for science and engineering majors. We will assume that you are comfortable with solving problems and using math as a tool to help you master the course material. If you don't feel that this description applies to you, you should consider switching to Astronomy 301, the introductory course designed for non-science majors. There are several sections of Ast 301 offered each semester.

Astronomy is a very broad subject to cover in a single semester, so we will move through the material at a rather rapid pace. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of the Universe, from our Solar System to the largest scales. It’s possible that we may not be able to cover your favorite topic in sufficient depth to fully satisfy your curiosity; in that case, you may wish to take one of the Astronomy Department's follow-up courses on a variety of topics (Ast 309 series), in a future semester.

TEXTBOOK: We will use the 8th edition of the textbook "Universe" by Roger Freedman and William Kaufmann. It uses a bit more math than most introductory textbooks, but also provides you with guidance and hints for approaching numerical problems, including worked examples. You are strongly encouraged to buy this (the latest) edition of the book, since older editions may not contain the same material and problems. (If you do buy an earlier edition, make sure that it isn't an abridged or "split" version; those editions will be missing one of the major units.) The text is also available as an eBook, which you can purchase separately from the publisher's website. However, I do recommend that you purchase the bound (paperback) book, especially since there are plenty of used copies on the market, this edition having been out for about 1.5 years. There are a number of other resources available on the book's website,, including figures, animations, practice problems and quizzes, and so on.

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