Astronomy Undergraduate Courses • Spring 2017

  • 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…


  • 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…


  • The Planets

    Astro C12 | Letters and Science C70T

    CCN: 30003

    Instructor: Sophomore Seminar

    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…


  • 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…


  • 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.