Astronomy of the Distant Universe (3) Observed properties and astrophysical understanding of stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, the large-scale universe, and cosmology.
ASTRO 292 Astronomy of the Distant Universe (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 292 continues the survey started in ASTRO 291. The first half of the course is devoted to stellar astronomy and astrophysics. The class follows the successful application of physics to astronomical data in the 19th -20th centuries to understand distances, masses and energy sources of stars. The formation, structure and evolution of stars is treated in the context of physical processes developed in ASTRO 291. The class studies the death of stars, including spectacular phenomena such as supernova explosions, pulsars and black holes, solutions to difficult problem of establishing distance scales (stellar, galactic, intergalactic) are presented. In the second half of the course, the students examine the Universe on progressive larger scales: our Milky Way galaxy, other galaxies, and massive black holes in galactic cores (e.g. quasars). Exotic phenomena such as gravitational lenses, gamma-ray bursts and cosmic rays are investigated. Finally, the class delves into the remarkable findings of modern cosmology: Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the Universe, the discovery of the cosmic microwave background and consequent dominance of Big Bang cosmology in the context of Newtonian and Einsteinian theories of gravity. Cosmological evolution is studied; e.g. formation of light elements during the first few minutes, and the growth of large-scale structure that continues to the present. Unsolved problems faced by today's scientists are emphasized.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.