Courses - Fall 2021

ASTRO 1101 From New Worlds to Black Holes

"From Black Holes to undiscovered worlds" - a journey through our fascinating universe. Ever wondered about the universe? What you see in the night sky? How stars get born and how they die? How Black holes work? And if there is life out there in the universe? Join us for a journey through our fascinating universe from Black Holes to undiscovered worlds through the newest discoveries. We are made of stardust. Ad Astra.  

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nikole Lewis (nkl35)
Jonathan Lunine (jil45)
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ASTRO 1103 From New Worlds to Black Holes

Identical to ASTRO 1101 except for addition of the laboratory.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nikole Lewis (nkl35)
Jonathan Lunine (jil45)
Full details for ASTRO 1103 : From New Worlds to Black Holes
ASTRO 1195 Observational Astronomy

Provides a "hands-on" introduction to observational astronomy intended for liberal arts students. High school mathematics is assumed, but otherwise there are no formal prerequisites. The course objective is to learn how we know what we know about the Universe, and to learn how to observe with moderate cost amateur telescopes. There are two lectures and one evening laboratory per week. Typically, labs consist of 4-5 observing sessions using the Fuertes Observatory 12" telescope and a set of Meade 8" telescopes, a trip to Mount Pleasant to look through its 25" telescope and, on cloudy nights, 4-5 in-class experiments, the highlight of which is collecting micrometeorites for study.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gordon Stacey (gjs12)
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ASTRO 2202 A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System: Science, Policy and Exploration

Writing course designed to develop an understanding of modern solar system exploration. Discussion will center on describing our home planet as a member of a diverse family of objects in our solar system. In addition to studying what we have learned of other planets and satellites from unmanned spacecraft, we will also discuss the missions themselves and describe the process of how they are selected and developed. Guest lecturers will include political advocacy experts, NASA officials, and science team members of active NASA/ESA missions. Participants will study, debate, and learn to write critically about important issues in science and public policy that benefit from this perspective. Topics discussed include space policy, the potential for life in the ocean worlds of the outer solar system, the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial intelligence, and the exploration of Mars.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alexander Hayes (agh4)
Full details for ASTRO 2202 : A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System: Science, Policy and Exploration
ASTRO 2212 The Solar System: Planets, Small Bodies and New Worlds

Introduction to the solar system with emphasis on the quantitative application of simple physical principles to the understanding of what we observe or can deduce. Topics include: planetary orbital and spin dynamics, tidal evolution, the interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres of the planets including the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, and smaller bodies such as satellites, asteroids and comets. Comparisons will be made between planetary systems discovered about other stars and our own solar system. Results from past and current spacecraft missions will be discussed. Final grades will depend on homework sets and on a final team project and in-class presentation, supported by a joint term paper. The course is more in-depth and quantitative than ASTRO 1102/ASTRO 1104. All course materials will be available online.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Phil Nicholson (pdn2)
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ASTRO 3303 Galaxies Across Cosmic Time

This course provides an overview of our current understanding of how galaxies have evolved over the last 13+ billion years and how their evolution has been influenced by their local intergalactic environment. We will look at the evidence that links supermassive black holes, gas accretion and merger events to galaxy evolution and track the star formation rate from early to current epochs. Additional topics will include the formation and distribution of clusters and groups of galaxies, the importance of dark matter and how galaxy evolution fits into the framework of current cosmological models.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gordon Stacey (gjs12)
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ASTRO 3340 Symbolic and Numerical Computing

Introduces Mathematica and modern symbolic manipulator programs to students in quantitative disciplines. The course will cover language concepts, programming tools and techniques and draw examples from a wide variety of fields including mathematics, astronomy, physics, engineering, biology, statistics, finance, and the general topic of big data. For the final project the student will apply the capabilities to an individual area of interest. Both undergraduates and graduates may register.

Distribution: (MQR-AS, SDS-AS, SMR-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Chernoff (dfc8)
Full details for ASTRO 3340 : Symbolic and Numerical Computing
ASTRO 4410 Multiwavelength Astronomical Techniques

The course covers methods in optical and radio astronomy and selected topics in astrophysics. Major experiments use techniques chosen from charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging, optical photometry, optical spectroscopy, radiometry and radio spectroscopy. Observations use the Hartung-Boothroyd Observatory's 24-inch telescope and a 3.8-meter radio telescope on the roof of the Space Sciences Building. The course covers the fundamentals of astronomical instrumentation and data analysis applied to a wide range of celestial phenomena: asteroids, main-sequence stars, supernova remnants, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, the interstellar medium, OH masers, and galaxies. Methods include statistical data analysis, artifact and interference excision, Fourier transforms, heterodyned receivers, and software-defined radio.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS, SDS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jim Cordes (jmc33)
James Lloyd (jl554)
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ASTRO 4433 Introduction to Cosmology

An introduction to theoretical and observational cosmology aimed at interested science and engineering majors. Topics include an introduction to general relativity as applied to the cosmos; the cosmic expansion history and how it relates to the nature of matter in the universe; processes in the early universe; how galaxies and clusters of galaxies form; current and prospective cosmological surveys of galaxies, galaxy clusters, gravitational lensing, and the cosmic microwave background. The material is at a less technical level than the graduate cosmology course ASTRO 6599.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nicholas Battaglia (nb572)
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ASTRO 4445 Introduction to General Relativity

One-semester introduction to general relativity that develops the essential structure and phenomenology of the theory without requiring prior exposure to tensor analysis. General relativity is a fundamental cornerstone of physics that underlies several of the most exciting areas of current research, including relativistic astrophysics, cosmology, and the search for a quantum theory of gravity. The course briefly reviews special relativity, introduces basic aspects of differential geometry, including metrics, geodesics, and the Riemann tensor, describes black hole spacetimes and cosmological solutions, and concludes with the Einstein equation and its linearized gravitational wave solutions. At the level of Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity by Hartle.

Distribution: (PBS-AS, PHS-AS, SMR-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Saul Teukolsky (sat4)
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ASTRO 4940 Independent Study in Astronomy

Individuals work on selected topics. A program of study is devised by the student and instructor.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rachel Bean (reb55)
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ASTRO 6516 Astrophysical Dynamics

A knowledge of classical dynamics is essential for understanding some of the most interesting problems in astrophysics, from planetary systems to galaxies. This course will introduce and review theories of dynamical systems (e.g. Hamiltonian mechanics and nonlinear dynamics). The major focus will be on the dynamics of planetary systems (both Solar system and exoplanetary systems) and galactic dynamics. There are no astronomy or advanced mechanics prerequisites.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Dong Lai (dl57)
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ASTRO 6525 Multiwavelength Astronomical Techniques

This course covers telescope design, optics design and instrumentation for wavelengths from optical to radio and their relation to current research needs. Adaptive optics, interferometry, aperture synthesis, and beam forming will be covered. Instrumentation discussions will include CCD and IR/submillimeter detector arrays, heterodyne systems and phased array feeds at radio wavelengths as well as camera designs, cryogenic systems, spectrographs/spectrometers and interferometric correlators. Sensitivity issues, observing techniques, polarimetry and data analysis will be discussed.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jim Cordes (jmc33)
James Lloyd (jl554)
Full details for ASTRO 6525 : Multiwavelength Astronomical Techniques
ASTRO 6530 Astrophysical Processes

This course focusses on radiative processes that are important for astrophysical applications, especially the effects of absorption, emission, scattering and refraction on the propagation of polarized radiation. Applications to specific astronomical phenomena will be discussed. Time permitting non-electromagnetic processes, such as neutrino production and transport and physics of dark matter, will be covered.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Ira Wasserman (imw2)
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ASTRO 6940 Advanced Study and Research

Guided reading and seminars on topics not currently covered in regular courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Rachel Bean (reb55)
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ASTRO 7340 Symbolic and Numerical Computing

Introduces Mathematica and modern symbolic manipulator programs to students in quantitative disciplines. The course will cover language concepts, programming tools and techniques and draw examples from a wide variety of fields including mathematics, astronomy, physics, engineering, biology, statistics, finance, and the general topic of big data. For the final project the student will apply the capabilities to an individual area of interest. Both undergraduates and graduates may register.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Chernoff (dfc8)
Full details for ASTRO 7340 : Symbolic and Numerical Computing
ASTRO 7683 Seminar: Astronomy and Planetary Science

This course is a reading seminar where graduate students will gain astronomy breadth, practice public speaking, and distill important results from seminal astronomy research papers.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Nicholas Battaglia (nb572)
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