Courses - Fall 2020

ASTRO 1101 From New Worlds to Black Holes

 

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: James Lloyd (jl554)
Full details for ASTRO 1101 : From New Worlds to Black Holes
ASTRO 1103 From New Worlds to Black Holes

Identical to ASTRO 1101 except for addition of the laboratory.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: James Lloyd (jl554)
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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)
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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Julie Rathbun (jar24)
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 the formation and evolution of the solar system, 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 than ASTRO 1102/1104. All course materials will be available online.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Phil Nicholson (pdn2)
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ASTRO 3301 Exoplanets and Planetary Systems

Hundreds of planets around other stars have been discovered over the past two decades, and many more discoveries are sure to come.  How are these discoveries made and what are the properties of these exoplanets and their systems?  How exotic can we expect exoplanets to be?  Is our solar system a typical planetary system or something unusual? How common are planets like Earth?  How might we determine whether exoplanets can host life, or do host life?  These and other issues related to planetary formation and evolution will be discussed.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nikole Lewis (nkl35)
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ASTRO 4410 Experimental Astronomy

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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jim Cordes (jmc33)
James Lloyd (jl554)
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ASTRO 4431 Physics of Stars, Neutron Stars and Black Holes

Major topics include: the structure and evolution of stars; solar neutrino astronomy; stellar seismology; the physics of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes; the physics of low mass stars and connection to planets. Basic ideas in atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear and particle physics, fluid mechanics and general relativity are introduced in a practical fashion that emphasizes concepts useful for understanding astrophysical phenomena.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ira Wasserman (imw2)
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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)
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 6509 General Relativity I

A comprehensive introduction to Einstein's theory of relativistic gravity. This course focuses on the formal structure of the theory.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Liam McAllister (lm432)
Full details for ASTRO 6509 : General Relativity I
ASTRO 6560 Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution

Intended to provide a systematic development of stellar astrophysics, both theory and observations. Topics include hydrostatic equilibrium; equation of state; radiation transfer and atmospheres; convection and stellar turbulence; nuclear burning and nucleosynthesis; solar neutrinos; star formation; pre-main sequence stars; brown dwarfs; end states of stellar evolution (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes); supernovae; interacting binary stars; stellar rotation and magnetic fields; stellar pulsations; winds and outflows.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Dong Lai (dl57)
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ASTRO 6590 Galaxies and the Universe

The universe, its large-scale structure and history; morphology, photometry, dynamics, kinematics and active nuclei of galaxies; galaxy formation and evolution; cosmological theory and observations.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Dominik Riechers (dar329)
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ASTRO 6599 Cosmology

Intended to provide a detailed theoretical development of current ideas in cosmology. Topics include Big Bang cosmology and the universe's matter content; a cosmological chronology very early universe, symmetry breaking, inflationary scenarios, nucleosynthesis, recombination, growth of irregularities, galaxy formation and clustering, dark energy; current and future cosmological observational approaches.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Nicholas Battaglia (nb572)
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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 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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ASTRO 7690 Computational Physics

Covers numerical methods for ordinary and partial differential equations, linear algebra and eigenvalue problems, integration, nonlinear equations, optimization, and fast Fourier transforms. Find out how and why the "black-box" numerical routines you use work, how to improve and generalize them, and how to fix them when they don't. Based on the text Numerical Recipes by William H. Press, Saul A. Teukolsky, William T. Vetterling, and Brian P. Flannery.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Tomas Arias (taa2)
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