Astronomy 2024 Summer Courses

Welcome to the Department of Astronomy! We are excited to continue our Astronomy course offerings for Summer 2024. Our course offerings are recommended for high school students, transfer students, international students, prospective majors and current students. By participating in Astronomy summer courses you will benefit from interacting with UC Berkeley faculty and instructors, enroll in engaging Astrophysics courses and meet other highly motivated students from around the world.

Introduction to General Astronomy (ASTRON 10) 

This course is designed to provide, for both nonscience and science majors, a description of the fantastic Universe in which we live.  We cover the structure and evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and the cosmos as a whole, gaining insights into amazing objects like quasars, exploding stars, neutron stars, and black
holes. Major themes include our origins (such as the origin of the chemical elements, stars, planets, and life), the methods by which astronomers investigate and eventually understand various aspects of the Universe, the scientific unification of many seemingly disparate phenomena, and the excitement felt by astronomers doing ground-breaking research on some of the most far-out topics imaginable.  This course will inspire you to become more inquisitive about the world around them, and it will develop your skills in arriving at conclusions based on logical, physical reasoning.

Introduction to Astrophysics: From Planets to Cosmology (ASTRON 7AB)

This course provides a broad overview of introductory astrophysics, with an emphasis on the way in which physics is applied to astronomy. The course will cover astrophysics at small and large scales from stars and planets to galaxies and cosmology. Course topics include observational astronomy, orbital mechanics, planets, the formation of planetary systems, stellar properties, stellar structure, star formation, the interstellar medium, stellar evolution, degenerate remnants of stars, the Milky Way galaxy, galaxies, black holes, quasars, dark matter, the expansion of the universe, the large-scale structure of the universe, cosmology, and the Big Bang. The physics in this course includes mechanics and gravitation; kinetic theory of gases; properties of radiation and radiative energy transport; quantum mechanics of photons, atoms, and electrons; magnetic fields; and special and general theories of relativity. 

*Intended for incoming transfer students*

Introduction to Python (ASTRON 9)

This is an introductory course in scientific programming with emphasis on learning the techniques used to model the universe and analyze data – no python experience is necessary. The focus of the course will be less on theoretical/mathematical aspects but instead on the application and implementation of practical computational techniques useful throughout the physical sciences. In particular we will extensively use the python numpy/scipy/matplotlib stack to create programs and apply them to data drawn from a number of real world sources (astronomy, physics, finance, etc.).

Cultural Astronomy (ASTRON 9)

This course will examine the cultural expressions of astronomy across the globe and throughout history (including our modern era). We will study how astronomy has influenced (or been influenced by) calendars, language, literature/mythology/folklore/entertainment (including science fiction), agriculture & cuisine, arts (visual, performing, crafts), fashion (clothing and body art), architecture, religion, politics, economics, and of course science. We will take a dip into archeoastronomy and examine how astronomy is used to interpret artifacts from ancient cultures. We will study some of the famous ruins of ancient civilizations (Newgrange, Stonehenge, the Giza Necropolis, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Pueblo Bonito, etc.) for their alignments to astronomical events and examine ways to interpret the meaning placed on these alignments by each culture.

From the Earth to the Stars in One Giant Leap (ASTRON 9)

This course is an introduction to space exploration. Where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. From the people, jobs and industries on the ground, to the paradigm-changing Moon missions of Apollo to living and working in LEO (low earth orbit) to the push to Mars and beyond, we’ll explore what it takes to put humans and robots in space and why we’re doing it. So Buckle up Starfleet wannabes, and get ready for one giant leap from your desk to the stars.


Don’t wait to enroll! Register at:

Please email for any questions.

Course Details: 

Session A (May 22-June 30)

Session D (July 3-August 11)

ASTRON 9: Cultural Astronomy (online!) ASTRON 10: Introduction to General Astronomy
ASTRON 9: From the Earth to the Stars in One Giant Leap ASTRON 7AB: Introduction to Astrophysics
  ASTRON 9: Introduction to Python (online!)