Astronomy Undergraduate Courses • Fall 2014

  • Introduction to Astrophysics

    Astro 7A

    CCN: 05903

    Instructor: Mariska Kriek

     This is the first part of an overview of astrophysics, with an emphasis on the way in which physics is applied to astronomy. This course deals with the solar system and stars, while 7B covers galaxies and cosmology. Solar system topics include orbital mechanics, geology of terrestrial planets, planetary atmospheres, and the formation of the solar system. The study of…


  • A description of modern astronomy with emphasis on the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the Universe. Additional topics optionally discussed include quasars, pulsars, black holes, and extraterrestrial communication, etc. Individual instructor’s synopses available from the department. 


  • The Planets

    Astro C12 | EPS C12, L&S C70T

    CCN: 05936

    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…


  • Sophomore seminars are small interactive courses offered by faculty members in departments all across the campus. Sophomore seminars offer opportunity for close, regular intellectual contact between faculty members and students in the crucial second year. The topics vary from department to department and semester to semester. Enrollment limited to 15 sophomores. 


  • This course requires four to six experiments such as the following: accurate position and brightness measurements of stars; laboratory exploration of the characteristics of two-dimensional charge-coupled devices (CCDs) and infrared detectors; measurement of the distance, reddening, and age of a star cluster; measurement of the Stokes parameters and linear polarization of diffuse synchrotron and reflection nebulae; measurement of the period…


  • Stellar Physics

    Astro 160

    CCN: 06020

    Instructor: Eliot Quataert

    Topics covered include some, but not necessarily all, of the following. Observational constraints on the properties and evolution of stars. Theory of stellar structure and evolution. Stellar atmospheres and stellar spectroscopy. Stellar nucleosynthesis. Supernovae. Degeneracy of matter and structure of collapsed stars. Elements of gas dynamics, accretion onto compact objects, and x-ray sources. Dynamics and evolution of close binary systems.…