Astronomy

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units, including 5 units of astronomy, 3 units of physics including Physics 200 and 2 additional units of intermediate or advanced work in either astronomy, physics, geology, computer science, or chemistry to be selected with the approval of the adviser. Only one introductory level astronomy course may count toward the major.

Prospective majors should consult the department as soon as possible. Normally such students should elect physics and mathematics as freshmen. After the declaration of an astronomy major, no astronomy courses or courses counted towards the major may be elected NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: Astronomy 320 or 340.

Recommendations: Additional work in mathematics, physics, and computer science. In particular, students planning on graduate work in astronomy should complete Physics 310, 320 and 341.

Advisers: Mr. Chromey, Ms. Elmegreen.

Correlate Sequence in Astronomy: Students majoring in other departments or programs may elect a correlate sequence in Astronomy. The requirements for the correlate sequence consist of Physics 113, 114 plus four units in astronomy, two of which must be chosen from the observational sequence (Astronomy 240-340) or the astrophysics sequence (Astronomy 220-320). No more than one of the remaining two units may be chosen from the introductory courses (Astronomy 101, 105, 150), and the other one (or two) may be chosen from Astronomy 220, 222, 230, or 240. Note that additional physics courses (Physics 200, 210, and 240) are highly recommended for those selecting the astrophysics sequence. The NRO option may be used for at most one course to be included in the astronomy correlate sequence.

I. Introductory

101a. Solar System Astronomy (1)

A study of the solar system as seen from earth and space: planets, satellites, comets, meteors, and the interplanetary medium; astronautics and space exploration; life on other planets; planets around other stars; planetary system cosmogony. Ms. Krusberg.

Open to all classes.

105b. Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology (1)

This course is designed to acquaint the student with our present understanding of the universe. The course discusses the formation, structure, and evolution of gas clouds, stars, and galaxies, and then places them in the larger content of clusters and superclusters of galaxies. The Big Bang, GUTS, inflation, the early stages of the universe's expansion, and its ultimate fate are explored. Ms. Elmegreen.

Open to all classes.

150a. Life in the Universe (1)

An introduction to the possibility of life beyond Earth is presented from an astronomical point of view. The course reviews stellar and planetary formation and evolution, star properties and planetary atmospheres necessary for a habitable world, possibilities for other life in our Solar system, detection of extrasolar planets, the SETI project, and the Drake equation. Ms. Elmegreen.

Prerequisites: high school physics and calculus.

Satisfies requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar. Open to Freshmen only.

II. Intermediate

220a. Stellar Astrophysics (1)

The physical theory of stellar interiors, atmospheres, and energy sources. Stellar evolution. Spectral sequence and its origin. Supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. Ms. Elmegreen.

Prerequisite: Physics 114, or permission of the instructor.

222b. Galaxies and Galactic Structure (1)

Observations and theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies. Properties of star-forming regions; contents, structure, and kinematics of the Milky Way and spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies. Active galaxies, interacting galaxies, clusters, and high redshift galaxies. Ms. Elmegreen.

Prerequisites: Physics 114 and either Astronomy 105 or 220, or permission of the instructor; not open to freshmen.

230b. Planetary and Space Science (1)

Atmospheres, surface features, and interiors of the planets. Interaction of the sun with the other members of the solar system. Planetary formation and evolution. Life on other planets. Space exploration. Ms. Krusberg.

Prerequisites: Physics 114, or permission of the instructor.

240a. Observational Astronomy (1)

This course introduces the student to a variety of techniques used in the detection and analysis of electromagnetic radiation from astronomical sources. All areas of the electromagnetic spectrum are discussed, with special emphasis on solid-state arrays as used in optical and infrared astronomy. Topics include measurement uncertainty, signal-to-noise estimates, the use of astronomical databases, telescope design and operation, detector design and operation, practical photometry and spectroscopy and data reduction. Students are required to perform a number of nighttime observations at the college observatory. Mr. Chromey.

Prerequisite: Physics 113 or 114, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)


298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)


III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Thesis (1)


301a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Yearlong course, 301-302.

302b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

Yearlong course, 301-302.

320b. Astrophysics of the Interstellar Medium (1)

A study of the observations and theory related to interstellar matter, including masers, protostars, dust, atomic, molecular and ionized gas clouds. Radiative transfer, collapse and expansion processes, shocks and spiral density waves are discussed. Ms. Elmegreen.

Prerequisite: one 200-level physics course or one 200-level astronomy course, Junior or Senior status, or permission of the instructor.

340a. Advanced Observational Astronomy (1)

This course applies in depth the methods introduced in Astronomy 240. Students are expected to pursue individual observational projects in collaboration with the instructor. The amount of time spent in the observatory and how it is scheduled depends on the nature of the project, although 1/2 Unit projects require half the total time of full unit projects. Mr. Chromey.

Prerequisites: Astronomy 240 and permission of the instructor.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)