See course requirements for the minor
101 – Introductory Astronomy – A one-semester survey course in contemporary astronomy in which students examine the present scientific understanding of the universe and how that understanding has been achieved. Topics covered include historical astronomy, the solar system, stars and interstellar medium, galaxies, and cosmology. The laboratory component of the course allows students hands-on experience in some of the measurement processes used in modern astronomy, and includes use of the Keeble Observatory. This course partially fulfills the Area of Knowledge requirement as a natural science with laboratory. Four hours.
231-232 – Astrophysics I, II – A two-semester sequence which provides an overview of contemporary astrophysics. Emphasis is placed on understanding the methods of investigation used in modern astronomy, and the interaction between theory and observation. Topics include planets and the solar system, the interstellar medium, stars and star formation, stellar evolution, galaxies, and cosmology. Prerequisites: PHYS 152 and MATH 132 or 142. Each semester of this course partially fulfills the Area of Knowledge requirement as a natural science without laboratory. Offered alternate years. Three hours each term.
235 – Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Astronomy – An investigation of the historical background and philosophical context of modern astronomy. Emphasis is placed on the evolution of our ideas of the cosmos, and of the development of technology applied to astronomical observation. Major topics include primitive uses of the sky for religious and calendrical purposes in ancient civilizations, such as the Native Americans and Stonehenge builders; ancient Greek views of the cosmos; the transition to modern views of the cosmos in the Copernican and Newtonian revolutions; and the transformation of astronomy to astrophysics with the development of such tools as the telescope, telescope, camera, radio telescope, and unmanned satellite. Prerequisites: none. This course fulfills the Cross-Area Requirement as an interdisciplinary course. Offered alternate years. Three hours.
321 – Observational Astronomy Laboratory – A one semester laboratory course which explores the techniques of optical astronomy, including the use of astronomical coordinate systems, photography, photometry, and spectroscopy. Extensive use is made of the facilities of the Keeble Observatory. Students are expected to demonstrate through written and oral reports competency with the apparatus and understanding of the phenomena observed. Prerequisite: PHYS 152. Offered alternate years. One hour.