Astrophysics and Planetary Science

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

AST 1072 : Birth & Death of Stars

The life cycles of the stars from birth in dark, dense interstellar clouds to death in nature's most violent cataclysms. Topics include: formation of the chemical elements; effects of nearby supernovae; future of the Sun; ultimate fate of the Earth.

Credits

3

AST 1074 : Planetary Skies and Landscapes

A study of the surfaces and atmospheres of other worlds and how they compare to Earth. Physical processes which shape planetary interiors and surfaces; atmosphere and climate evolution; formation of the Solar System; properties of "solar systems" around other stars.

Credits

3

AST 1076 : How Old is the Universe?

Explores one of the most basic questions in modern astronomy. Evidence from the Earth, Moon, and meterorites will be examined, along with that from stars, white dwarfs, and the Universe itself. Includes an overview of the formation and evolution of the Universe.

Credits

3

AST 1078 : Life in the Universe

Discusses Earthly "life as we know it," then considers the possibilities of biological life elsewhere in the Solar System - and beyond. Describes the general conditions favoring planetary habitability, planetary detection techniques, and the likelihood of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Credits

3

AST 2120 : Sun and Stars

A technical study of the Sun and other stars; their internal constitutions and atmospheres, life cycles and evolutionary processes, memberships in groups, the radiations they produce, and the manner in which astronomers quantify their characteristics.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MAT 1310 or MAT 1320 or MAT 1330 or MAT 1400 or MAT 1500

AST 2121 : Solar System Astronomy

The science of the solar system. Early ideas of the nature of the solar system; the dynamics and compositions of the planets; atmospheric evolution and maintenance. How comets and meteorites reveal the structures of the primitive solar system.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MAT 1310 or MAT 1320 or MAT 1330 or MAT 1400 or MAT 1500

AST 2122 : Understanding Our Universe

A study of the formation and evolution of the Universe. Emphasis on the observational evidence leading to the Big Bang Theory, inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. Current model of the universe described and evidence for the "multiverse" discussed.

Credits

3

AST 2123 : Astrodynamics:Kepler & Beyond

Intermediate Newtonian dynamics: description of motion under forces as functions of position, time, velocity. Motion in one and three dimensions, the Kepler problem, gravitation, and the restricted three-body problem.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MAT 1310 or MAT 1320 or MAT 1330 or MAT 1400 or MAT 1500

AST 2133 : Observational Lab I

Astronomical instruments, methods of observing, reduction of observations, and discussion of astronomical data. Observations include CCD imaging, spectroscopy, and photoelectric photometry using the observatory reflector and Schmidt telescopes. Two hours per week in the laboratory in addition to the observing time necessary to complete the assigned projects. Corerquisite or prerequisite: AST 2120.

Credits

2

Corequisites

AST 2120.

AST 3141 : Galactic Astronomy

The nature, distribution, and motions of the constituents of the Galaxy; the major star system in which our Sun is located the stars, the gas and dust, star clusters, etc.; stellar distance determination, distribution of stars and gas, stellar kinematics, galactic dynamics, galactic radio emission, cosmic rays, and evolution of galaxies. Prerequisite: one year of mathematics or physics and either AST 2120 or AST 2122.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

one year of mathematics or physics and either AST 2120 or AST 2122.

AST 3142 : Intro to Astrophysics

Theories of stellar atmospheres, line-broadening and formation, radiative transfer, theoretical spectra, and the theory of stellar interiors are covered. Fundamental stellar timescales, thermonuclear reactions, evolutionary models, stellar pulsations, novae and supernovae.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

AST 2120 :D- or AST 2122 :D- and PHY 2410 :D-

AST 3143 : Astrobiology, Planets, & Life

Are we alone? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? Focus on the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life in the Solar System and beyond. Topics include: Planetary-Habitability, Exoplanets, Astro/Exobiology, Extremophiles, Techniques, and searches for Extraterrestrial-Intelligence.

Credits

3

AST 3148 : The Prncpl of Scientific Model

Discusses the principle aspects of computational modeling in science, with stress on interdisciplinarity and synergy with big data science. Students gain hands-on experience in solving prototypical scientific problems using modern computational techniques.

Credits

3

AST 4121 : Undergrad Research I

Student participation in departmental or independent research under faculty supervision; frequent conferences on literature search, research techniques, experimental procedures and results.

Credits

3

AST 5900 : Independent Study

Supervised study, activity or research in a selected area of astronomy & astrophysics. May be repeated for credit if the topics are different. Prior approval of chair and instructor.

Credits

3

AST 5930 : Topics in Astron & Astrophyics

Lecture presentation of selected topics in astronomy & astrophysics. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Prerequisites may be imposed depending on the topics.