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2003 - 2004
Undergraduate Catalog

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Dermott, S.F., Chair; Oliver, J.P., Associate Chair; Cohen, H.L.; Elston, R.J.; Gottesman, S.T.; Gustafson, B.A.; Guzman, R.; Hamann, F.W.; Hunter, J.H.; Kandrup, H.E.; Kolokolova, L.; Lada, E.A.; Leacock, R.J.; Lebo, G.R.; Oliver, J.P.; Packhan, C.; Reyes, F.J.; Sarajedini, A.; Sarajedini, V.; Smith, H.C.; Telesco, C.M.;.; Wilson, R.E.;

AST 1002 Discovering the Universe.

Credits: 3.

An elementary, largely nonmathematical survey of our universe of stars, planets, and galaxies. Acquaints the student with the development of astronomy as a human activity – with how we know as well as what we know. Primarily for those not majoring in physical science or mathematics. (P)

AST 1022L Astronomy Laboratory.

Credits: 1.

An elementary introduction to experimental work in astronomy, includes both scheduled laboratory exercises during the day in the teaching lab and evening observational astronomy at the on-campus teaching observatory. (P)

AST 2004 Cosmology.

Credits: 3.

Overview of cosmology, the study of the large scale structure and history of the Universe, in four components: (I) ideas about the Universe as a whole predating the twentieth century; (II) ideas from twentieth century physics that impact on modern cosmology; (III) starts, black holes, galaxies, and quasars as probes of the Universe; and (IV) the Hot Big Bang Model.

AST 2007 Introduction to the Solar System.

Credits: 3; Prereq: Simple Algebra.

Survey of the Solar System: Sun, planets, satellites, asteroids, meteorites and comets. (P)

AST 2008 Introduction to the Stars and Galaxies.

Credits: 3; Prereq: Simple Algebra.

Introduction to stars and galaxies. (P)

AST 2037 Life in the Universe.

Credits: 3.

Considers the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of its existence elsewhere. A multidisciplinary approach is followed. Conditions for life to form, and the likelihood that such conditions may exist elsewhere in the Universe, are discussed. Also considered are schemes proposed for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). (P)

AST 2039 Exploration of the Universe.

Credits: 3.

A descriptive, nonmathematical examination of current ideas concerning the origin, evolution and future development of the universe and its major constituents. This elementary course in cosmology is designed for nonscience majors. (P)

AST 3018 Astronomy and Astrophysics 1.

Credits: 3; Prereq: PHY 2048, MAC 2311; Coreq: PHY 2049.

First part of the sequence AST 3018-3019, a survey of astronomy and astrophysics for majors in a physical science, engineering or mathematics. Course covers the celestial sphere; gravitation, orbits and tides; time and the calendar; the Moon’s phases and eclipses; light and spectra; the solar system; and a few historical milestones. (P)

AST 3019 Astronomy and Astrophysics 2.

Credits: 3; Prereq: AST 3018.

Second part of the sequence AST 3018-3019. Course covers stellar distance determination; spectral classification, magnitudes and the nature of color indices; binary stars; the interstellar medium; the Sun as a star; stellar interiors; star formation and stellar evolution; the structure of the Milky Way; the kinds of galaxies and their properties; groups, clusters, and superclusters of galaxies; and cosmology. (P)

AST 3043 History of Astronomy through Newton.

Credits: 3.

Astronomy, from its beginnings through Newton. Emphasis is on the works of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton. (H, P)

AST 3047 History of Astronomy After Newton.

Credits: 3.

Development of the science of astronomy, both observational and theoretical, and the rise of astrophysics from the eighteenth century until 1970.

AST 3722C Techniques of Observational Astronomy I.

Credits: 3; Coreq: AST 3018

First part of the sequence AST 3722C and AST 4723C, fundamental principles and techniques used in planning, making, reducing and analyzing modern astronomical observations. Includes classroom lectures or discussion, indoor laboratory work, data analysis, and outdoor night observations; gives an introduction to numerical treatment of observations, CCD imaging, digital imaging processing and astronomical spectroscopy.

AST 4211 Essentials of Astrophysics.

Credits: 3; Prereq: AST 3018: AST 3019 and a working knowledge of differential and calculus.

Course provides foundation and background on selected topics in astrophysics including broadening mechanisms of spectral lines, equations of state of gases, thermodynamics, radiation sources, radiative transport, kinetic theory of gases and stellar structure.

AST 4300 Galactic Astronomy.

Credits: 3; Prereq: AST 3018-3019 and a working knowledge of calculus.

An intensive introduction to the fundamental properties of the Milky Way and its system of satellite galaxies intended for astronomy majors and other natural science students. Topics to be covered include the ages, chemical abundances, and kinematics of field stars and star clusters, the properties of the interstellar medium and its role in star formation, the dark matter content, and models of the Milky Way’s physical structure.

AST 4402 Galaxies and Cosmology.

Credits: 3; Prereq: AST 3018-3019 and a working knowledge of calculus.

An investigation into the properties of galaxies and of their distribution in space. Some cosmological implications of this distribution will be discussed. The course is designed for astronomy majors and advanced students of other mathematical sciences.

AST 4723C Techniques of Observational Astronomy 2.

Credits: 3; Prereq: AST 3722C.

Second part of the sequence AST 3722C and AST 4723C.

AST 4905 Individual Work.

Credits: 1 to 3; Prereq: AST 3018-3019 or two years of college physics, and consent of instructor. May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits.

Assigned reading or research for qualified undergraduates.

AST 4930 Special Topics.

Credits: 1 to 3; Prereq: Permission of instructor. May be repeated with change of content up to a maximum of 9 credits.

Lecture, seminar or laboratory sessions covering selected topics of current interest in astronomy.

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