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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTRO)

ASTRO 291 (GN) Astronomical Methods and the Solar System (3) Physical processes and observational techniques in astronomical systems, characteristics of the sun, planets, and moons.

ASTRO 291 Astronomical Methods and the Solar System (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

ASTRO 291/292 is a two-semester overview of our current knowledge of astronomy. They are designed for students with a solid grounding in math and physics who wish to obtain a more quantitative understanding of the universe than that presented in ASTRO 001 or the 100-level ASTRO series. These courses are required for students majoring in astronomy, generally taken in the sophomore year.

ASTRO 291 starts with the appearance of the sky to the naked eye and the historical development of European astronomy. It then turns to an introduction to physical processes relevant to the interpretation of astronomical findings: Newtonian gravity and its applications in celestial mechanics, electromagnetic radiation, and a simplified understanding of atoms. The principal tools of astronomy telescopes are then described. The course proceeds with the survey of astronomy with the constituents of the solar system: sun, planets, natural satellites, planetary rings, asteroids, and comets. Physical processes are integrated with empirical findings to provide a profound and quantitative understanding of the phenomena; e.g. the role of angular momentum and tidal forces in establishing the orbits and spins of solar system bodies. The class then tackles the challenging development of models of the formation and evolution of the solar system.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Spring 2002
Prerequisite: PHYS 211

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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