Astronomy (ASTR)

ASTR Class Schedule

Courses

ASTR 100   Introduction to Astronomy   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduces the student to the basic concepts of modern astronomy. Covers topics including the night sky; the solar system and its origin; the nature and evolution of stars; stellar remnants, including white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; extrasolar planetary systems; galaxies and quasars; dark matter and dark energy; the Big Bang and the fate of the universe; and life in the universe. Credit is not given for ASTR 100 if credit in any of ASTR 121, ASTR 122, ASTR 210, or equivalent has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Physical Sciences

ASTR 121   Solar System and Worlds Beyond   credit: 3 Hours.

Introductory survey of the Solar System; structure and motions of the Earth and Moon; planetary motions; natures and characteristics of the planets and smaller solar system bodies; planetary moons and rings; meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites; properties of the Sun; origin and evolution of the Solar System; discovery of extrasolar planetary systems; architecture of extrasolar planetary systems and comparison to our solar system; habitable extrasolar planets. Emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and scientific methods. Credit is not given for ASTR 121 if credit in either ASTR 100 or ASTR 210 has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Physical Sciences
UIUC: Quant Reasoning II

ASTR 122   Stars and Galaxies   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to celestial objects and phenomena beyond the Solar System, and their governing basic physical principles; galaxies, quasars, and structure of the universe; dark matter and dark energy; the Big Bang and the fate of the universe; the Milky Way; the interstellar medium and the birth of stars; stellar distances, motions, radiation, structure, evolution, and remnants, including neutron stars and black holes. Emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and scientific methods. Credit is not given for ASTR 122 if credit in either ASTR 100 or ASTR 210 has been earned. Students with credit in PHYS 211 are encouraged to take ASTR 210.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Physical Sciences
UIUC: Quant Reasoning II

ASTR 131   The Solar System Lab   credit: 1 Hour.

Laboratory studies which complement the lecture course, ASTR 121. Laboratory exercises will include properties of telescopes, observations of the Moon and planets using telescopes at the Campus Observatory, and computer-based activities that illustrate modern astronomical techniques using digital data. Prerequisite: Credit in ASTR 100 or ASTR 121, or concurrent registration in ASTR 121.

ASTR 132   Stars and Galaxies Lab   credit: 1 Hour.

Laboratory studies which complement the lecture course, ASTR 122. Laboratory exercises will include properties of telescopes, observations of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies using telescopes at the Campus Observatory, and computer-based activities that illustrate modern astronomical techniques using digital data. Prerequisite: Credit in ASTR 100 or ASTR 122, or concurrent registration in ASTR 122.

ASTR 150   Killer Skies: Astro-Disasters   credit: 3 Hours.

Exploration of the most dangerous topics in the Universe, such as meteors, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, magnetars, rogue black holes, colliding galaxies, quasars, and the end of the Universe, to name just a few.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Physical Sciences

ASTR 199   Undergraduate Open Seminar   credit: 1 to 5 Hours.

Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated.

ASTR 210   Introduction to Astrophysics   credit: 3 Hours.

Survey of modern astronomy for students with background in physics. Topics include: the solar system; nature and evolution of stars; white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; galaxies, quasars and dark matter; large scale structure of the universe; the Big Bang; and Inflation. Emphasis will be on the physical principles underlying the astronomical phenomena. Prerequisite: PHYS 211.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Physical Sciences

ASTR 330   Extraterrestrial Life   credit: 3 Hours.

Scientific discussion of the search for extraterrestrial life. Topics include: cosmic evolution (protons to heavy elements to molecules); terrestrial evolution (chemical, biological, and cultural); high technology searches for extraterrestrial life in the solar system (Mars, Venus, outer planets); and beyond the solar system (Drake equation and current SETI projects).

ASTR 350   Introduction to Cosmology   credit: 3 Hours.

Descriptive course on modern cosmological theories. Topics include aspects of special and general relativity; curved spacetime; the Big Bang; inflation; primordial element synthesis; the cosmic microwave background; the formation of galaxies and large scale structure. Credit is not given for ASTR 350 if credit in ASTR 406 has been earned. Prerequisite: ASTR 100, or ASTR 121, or ASTR 122, or ASTR 210, or consent of instructor.

ASTR 390   Individual Study   credit: 0 to 4 Hours.

Individual study at an advanced undergraduate level. May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 8 hours. Prerequisite: Consent of advisor and of faculty member who supervises the work.

ASTR 401   Scientific Writing for Astronomy   credit: 2 Hours.

Development of journal-style writing skills. Papers written in accordance with the Astrophysical Journal Manual of Style on topics approved by the instructor. Emphasis on developing adequate and critical coverage of the topic, brevity compatible with clarity, and effective presentation. Proper referencing, footnotes, and bibliography are covered. 2 undergraduate hours. No graduate credit. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition I general education requirement. Concurrent enrollment in a designated 400-level astronomy course. Not intended for graduate students.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Advanced Composition

ASTR 404   Stellar Astrophysics   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to astrophysical problems, with emphasis on underlying physical principles; includes the nature of stars, equations of state, stellar energy generation, stellar structure and evolution, astrophysical neutrinos, binary stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars and pulsars, and novae and supernovae. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 212; or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213, PHYS 214.

ASTR 405   Planetary Systems   credit: 3 Hours.

This course traces, from a physical perspective, the evolution of planetary systems from star formation in molecular clouds to the emergence of habitable worlds. Topics include the properties of HII regions and molecular clouds, gravitational collapse and disk formation, formation of planetesimals and planets, dynamics of the solar system, physics of planetary atmospheres, properties of individual planets and their rings and satellites, detection and characterization of extra-solar planets, and searches for life in the Solar System and beyond. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 212 or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213.

ASTR 406   Galaxies and the Universe   credit: 3 Hours.

Nature of the Milky Way galaxy: stellar statistics and distributions, stellar populations, spiral structure, the nucleus and halo. Nature of ordinary galaxies; galaxies in our Local Group, structure of voids and superclusters. Nature of peculiar objects: Seyfert galaxies, starburst galaxies, and quasars. Elementary aspects of physical cosmology. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 212; or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213, PHYS 214.

ASTR 414   Astronomical Techniques   credit: 4 Hours.

Introduction to techniques used in modern optical and radio astronomy with emphasis on the physical and mathematical understanding of the detection of electromagnetic radiation; includes such topics as fundamental properties of radio and optical telescopes and the detectors that are used with telescopes. Lectures and laboratory. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: MATH 241 or equivalent; PHYS 212; or consent of instructor. Recommended: ASTR 210, PHYS 213, PHYS 214.

ASTR 490   Senior Thesis   credit: 3 Hours.

Research with thesis, under the direction of a faculty member in astronomy. This course is recommended for all students who plan to do research and graduate study, and it is a prerequisite for graduation with highest distinction in astronomy. In the term preceding their initial enrollment, those interested in taking the course should consult with an academic advisor as well as the potential research advisor. A thesis must be presented for credit to be received. 3 undergraduate hours. No graduate credit. Prerequisite: Two 400-level Astronomy courses and consent of academic advisor and of faculty member who supervises the work. Intended for Astronomy majors of senior standing.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
UIUC: Advanced Composition

ASTR 496   Seminar in Astronomy   credit: 1 to 4 Hours.

Lectures on topics of current interest in astronomy and astrophysics; for advanced undergraduates and graduates. See Class Schedule for current topics. 1 to 4 undergraduate hours. 1 to 4 graduate hours. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ASTR 499   Astronomy Laboratory   credit: 2 Hours.

Provides hands-on observational experience: how to use a telescope, how to image sources using a modern CCD camera, how to use a modern CCD spectrometer, and how to apply data analysis to astrophysical problems. 2 undergraduate hours. 2 graduate hours. Prerequisite: One 400-level astronomy course.

ASTR 501   Radiative Processes   credit: 4 Hours.

Fundamentals of radiative processes in astronomy. Topics include radiative transfer, classical theory of radiation fields, relativistic covariance and kinematics, synchrotron emission and absorption, bremsstrahlung, plasma effects, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, and dust. Prerequisite: ASTR 404 or consent of instructor.

ASTR 502   Astrophysical Dynamics   credit: 4 Hours.

Introduction to stellar dynamics and fluid dynamics. Topics include two body collisions, two body relaxation, potential theory for stellar systems, adiabatic invariance, stellar system models, Jeans equations, and the virial theorem. Also hydrodynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, waves, instabilities, shocks, explosions, density waves, and wind-blown bubbles. Prerequisite: PHYS 436, PHYS 427, and PHYS 486; or consent of instructor.

ASTR 503   Observational Astronomy   credit: 4 Hours.

Techniques and basic results of observational astronomy; gamma ray, x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and radio astronomy; photometry, imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry; gravitational waves; cosmic rays; neutrinos; positional astronomy; noise; statistics; data analysis; optics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ASTR 504   Theoretical Stellar Physics   credit: 4 Hours.

Application of physical principles to energy generation and flow in astrophysical environments: equations of state; thermonuclear reactions; radiative transport; convection; stellar spectra; nebular spectra; evolution of both single and binary stars; compact stars; accretion disks; thermal and particle history of the universe. Same as PHYS 542. Prerequisite: PHYS 436, PHYS 427, and PHYS 486; or consent of instructor.

ASTR 505   Star Formation   credit: 4 Hours.

Survey of the current state of astrophysical research into the topic of star formation. Particular emphasis placed on interpreting observations and how they relate to the theory of star formation. Prerequisite: ASTR 405 or consent of instructor.

ASTR 506   Galaxies   credit: 4 Hours.

Survey of the different constituents of the Universe, including galaxies, active galaxies, galaxy clusters, and intergalactic gas. Particular emphasis will be placed on observable properties of the Milky Way and other galaxies, as well as relating such observations to the understanding of the dynamics and evolution of galaxies. Prerequisite: ASTR 406 or consent of instructor.

ASTR 507   Physical Cosmology   credit: 4 Hours.

A survey of the essentials of modern cosmology, providing an overview of the state of the field, of open questions, and of observational and theoretical tools. Topics include: classical cosmology--the Friedmann universe; the early universe--inflation, nucleosynthesis, dark matter; the cosmic microwave background--basic physics, anisotropies, polarization; large scale structure formation--theoretical models and observational tests; dark energy--observational evidence, theoretical ideas. Emphasizes applying physical principles to understand observations, and on using observations to constrain the nature of matter and spacetime on cosmic scales--viewing the universe as a laboratory for fundamental physics. Course work focuses heavily on problem solving. Prerequisite: ASTR 406 or consent of instructor.

ASTR 510   Computational Astrophysics   credit: 4 Hours.

Prepares students to use numerical simulations to study complex problems in astrophysics and cosmology. Numerical methods and parallel computing will be covered together with the design, validation, and analysis of simulations. Emphasis is placed on solving ordinary and partial differential equations that arise in astrophysical contexts. Students work on assigned numerical problems and perform simulations using existing simulation codes, writing a final paper which presents the results of simulations using one of these codes. There are no formal prerequisites except knowledge of a scientific programming language such as Fortran, C, and C++. Familiarity with Unix/Linux and astronomical analysis tools is useful but not required.

ASTR 590   Individual Study   credit: 2 to 16 Hours.

Individual study or non-thesis research. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of adviser and of faculty member who supervises the work.

ASTR 596   Seminar in Special Topics   credit: 0 to 16 Hours.

Approved for both letter and S/U grading. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ASTR 599   Thesis Research   credit: 0 to 16 Hours.

Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated.