Courses by semester

Courses for

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
ASTRO1101 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.  

Full details for ASTRO 1101 - From New Worlds to Black Holes

ASTRO2202 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.

Full details for ASTRO 2202 - A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System: Science, Policy and Exploration

ASTRO2211 Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
Course surveying the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang onwards: what happens in the first few minutes of the universe's life; star formation, structure, and evolution; the physics of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; galaxy formation and structure; and cosmology. The roles of quantum physics, particle physics, and relativity in astrophysics are discussed (no prior knowledge of these is assumed). The course is more in-depth than ASTRO 1101/ASTRO 1103. All course materials are made available online.

Full details for ASTRO 2211 - Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

ASTRO4410 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.

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ASTRO4431 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.

Full details for ASTRO 4431 - Physics of Stars, Neutron Stars and Black Holes

ASTRO4445 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.

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ASTRO4940 Independent Study in Astronomy
Individuals work on selected topics. A program of study is devised by the student and instructor.

Full details for ASTRO 4940 - Independent Study in Astronomy

Fall or Spring.
ASTRO6509 General Relativity I
A comprehensive introduction to Einstein's theory of relativistic gravity. This course focuses on the formal structure of the theory.

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ASTRO6511 Physics of Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Neutron Stars
Compact objects (neutron stars, black holes and white dwarfs) are the endpoints of stellar evolution. They are responsible for some of the most exotic phenomena in the universe such as supernovae, magnetars, gamma-ray bursts, neutron star and black hole mergers.  Supermassive black holes also lie at the heart of the violent processes in active galactic nuclei. The study of compact objects allows one to probe physics under extreme conditions (high densities, strong magnetic fields, and gravity). This course surveys the astrophysics of compact stars and related subjects. Emphasis is on the application of diverse theoretical physics tools to various observations of compact stars. There are no astronomy or general relativity prerequisites. 

Full details for ASTRO 6511 - Physics of Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Neutron Stars

ASTRO6555 Interstellar Medium
The interstellar medium (ISM) is integral to the evolution of galaxies. Stars are born in cold molecular clouds. Hot stars return mass via stellar winds and at their death (supernovae). Other stars end as white dwarfs, ejecting considerable mass also. The energy and momentum inputs from these processes and the chemical enrichment (nucleosynthesis) makes the study of the ISM both fascinating and challenging. This graduate level course squarely deals with the Galactic interstellar medium (ISM) and will touch upon the circum-galactic Medium (CGM) of our Galaxy. The course is centered around understanding and gaining mastery of key physical processes (over descriptive astronomy).

Full details for ASTRO 6555 - Interstellar Medium

ASTRO6599 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.

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ASTRO6940 Advanced Study and Research
Guided reading and seminars on topics not currently covered in regular courses.

Full details for ASTRO 6940 - Advanced Study and Research

Fall or Spring.
ASTRO7672 Seminar: Topics of Planetary Science
ASTRO7683 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.

Full details for ASTRO 7683 - Seminar: Astronomy and Planetary Science

Fall, Spring.
ASTRO7690 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.

Full details for ASTRO 7690 - Computational Physics