Astronomy Undergraduate Courses • Spring 2017

Introduction to Astrophysics - Astro 7B

Introduction to Astrophysics

Astro 7B

CCN: 13147

Instructor: Eugene Chiang

This is the second part of an overview of astrophysics, which begins with 7A. This course covers the Milky Way galaxy, star formation and the interstellar medium, galaxies, black holes, quasars, dark matter, the expansion of the universe and its large-scale structure, and cosmology and the Big Bang. The physics in this course includes that used in 7A (mechanics and gravitation; kinetic theory of gases; properties of radiation and radiative energy transport; quantum mechanics of photons, atoms, and electrons; and magnetic fields) and adds the special and general theories of relativity.


Radio Astronomy Laboratory - Astro 121

Radio Astronomy Laboratory

Astro 121

CCN: 13163

Instructor: Carl Heiles

Several basic laboratory experiments that concentrate on microwave electronics and techniques; construction of receiving, observing, and data analysis systems for two radioastronomical telescopes, a single-dish 21-cm line system and a 12-GHz interferometer; use of these telescopes for astronomical observing projects including structure of the Milky Way galaxy, precise position measurement of several radio sources, and measurement of the radio brightness distributions of the sun and moon with high angular resolution. There is a heavy emphasis on digital data acquisition, software development in the IDL language, and high-quality …


Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology - Astro C161

Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology

Astro C161

Physics C161

CCN: 13164

Instructor: Aaron Parsons

Elements of general relativity. Physics of pulsars, cosmic rays, black holes. The cosmological distance scale, elementary cosmological models, properties of galaxies and quasars. The mass density and age of the universe. Evidence for dark matter and dark energy and concepts of the early universe and of galaxy formation. Reflections on astrophysics as a probe of the extrema of physics.


The Planets - Astro C12

The Planets

Astro C12

Letters and Science C70T

CCN: 30003

Instructor: Gibor Basri, Raymond Jeanloz

A tour of the mysteries and inner workings of our solar system. What are planets made of? Why do they orbit the sun the way they do? How do planets form, and what are they made of? Why do some bizarre moons have oceans, volcanoes, and ice floes? What makes the Earth hospitable for life? Is the Earth a common type of planet or some cosmic quirk? This course will introduce basic physics, chemistry, and math to understand planets, moons, rings, comets, asteroids, atmospheres, and oceans. Understanding other worlds will help us save our own planet and help us understand our place in the universe.


Sophomore Seminar - Astro 84

Sophomore Seminar

Astro 84

CCN: 32488

Instructor: Alex Filippenko

The Nature of Space and Time:  We will consider the nature of space and time, especially in the context of our understanding of the overall properties of the Universe. The major topics from the following best-selling book will be discussed: "A Briefer History of Time," by Stephen Hawking. Our journey will take us through the basics of the two pillars of modern physics: quantum mechanics and Einstein's general theory of relativity. We will also explore string theory, which attempts to unify these two great fields by postulating the existence of many hidden dimensions in which packages of energy vibrate. Though the …