Astronomy (AST)


+ next to a course number indicates a General Education course.


+ PHY/AST 155 Cr. 4 Solar System Astronomy

An introduction to astronomy as a science, emphasizing patterns in the night sky, our own solar system, and the possibility of life on other worlds. Throughout the course, comparison of observations with theoretical models will be stressed. Topics studied include the size and scale of the solar system relative to the universe; the scientific method; astronomical observations; motions of the earth, moon, sun, and planets; creating a model of the solar system; what we learn about planets from light and gravity; the structure and formation of the solar system; the planets and their moons; comets, asteroids, and meteoroids; and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Recent results, including those from NASA missions, will be incorporated into the course. Lect. 3 Lab. 2. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.) Offered Sem. I.

+ PHY/AST 156 Cr. 4 Stars, Galaxies and the Universe

An introduction to astronomy as a science, emphasizing celestial objects beyond our solar system. Throughout the course, comparison of observations with theoretical models will be stressed. Topics studied include the size and scale of the universe, using light and gravity to study the cosmos, the sun, the properties of other stars, lives and deaths of stars, star clusters, black holes, the Milky Way galaxy, dark matter, other galaxies, quasars, Big Bang cosmology, dark energy, and gravitational waves. Particular emphasis will be placed on recent discoveries. Lect. 3 Lab. 2. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.) Offered Sem. II.

PHY/AST 362 Cr. 3 Astrophysics

The application of principles studied in fundamental or general physics to various areas of astrophysical research. This course will emphasize topics like binary stars, stellar structure and evolution, the solar neutrino problem, white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, the interstellar medium, galaxies and dark matter. Prerequisite: PHY 250 and 302; AST 155 or AST 156. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.) Offered alternate years.

PHY/AST 363 Cr. 1 Astrophysics Laboratory

An introduction to current observational techniques in astronomy and astrophysics. Students will learn the basics of planning professional observations, electronic detection, data acquisition and reduction, and analysis of results. Concerns for both imaging and spectroscopy will be incorporated, as well as aspects of multi-wavelength astronomy. Lab. 3. Prerequisite: PHY 104 or 204; MTH 151; AST 155 or AST 156. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.) Offered alternate years.

PHY/AST 450/550 Cr. 3-15 Physics and Astronomy Internship

Full or part-time work experience in a physics or astronomy related position with a public or private agency. Not more than five credits are applicable to a major or three credits to a minor in physics. A written application, departmental acceptance, and appointment of adviser must be completed before registration. Prerequisite: minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25 (2.50 in physics), PHY 104 or 204 plus six credits in physics or astronomy courses above the 204 level. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.)

PHY/AST 453/553 Cr. 1-3 Topics in Physics and Astronomy

Various subjects of interest to specific groups will be offered on occasion. Specific subtopics will be assigned each time the course is offered. Such titles might include nuclear physics, low temperature physics and the interstellar medium. Prerequisite: PHY 104 or

204. Repeatable for credit under different subtitles - maximum 12 credits. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.)

PHY/AST 466 Cr. 3 Cosmology and the Structure of the Universe

This course will emphasize topics relating to the history of our universe, from the Big Bang to galaxy evolution and the formation of the structures we see today. Students will study the cosmological distance ladder, black holes in galaxies, galaxy clusters, dark matter, the Big Bang model, the inflationary model, and the cosmological constant. The course will also include aspects of special and general relativity relevant to these subjects. Prerequisite: PHY 250 and 302; MTH 310; AST 156. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.) Offered alternate years.

PHY/AST 497 Cr. 1 Physics and Astronomy Seminar

This seminar series is intended for majors and minors in the department of physics as well as other students interested in physics, engineering and astronomy. It will consist of a series of talks given by visiting scientists and engineers as well as senior research students. The course provides an excellent opportunity to find out about the latest developments in physics, astronomy, and engineering and provides an excellent medium by which students can get to know each other and also their professors. All physics majors and minors are urged to sign up for this seminar each semester of their first year. Repeatable for credit-maximum four credits; a maximum of two credits can be used to satisfy elective requirements. Pass/Fail grading. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.)

PHY/AST 498 Cr. 1-3 Physics and Astronomy Research

Independent work by a student under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can work on a variety of research projects including, but not limited to, the areas of astronomy, condensed matter, computational physics, physics education, low temperature physics, lasers, optics and spectroscopy. Admission by consent of the department chair. Repeatable for credit-maximum nine credits, with permission of department chair. (Cross-listed with AST, may only earn credit in PHY or AST.)