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College of Arts
and Sciences (College)
2006-2008
Academic Bulletin

College Programs
College of Arts and Sciences (College) 
Kirkwood Hall 104 
130 S. Woodlawn 
Bloomington, IN 47405  
Local (812) 855-1821 
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Astronomy

Faculty
Introduction
Major in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Departmental Honors Program
Course Descriptions

Faculty

Chairperson

Catherine A. Pilachowski

Professors

Haldan N. Cohn, Richard H. Durisen, Phyllis M. Lugger, Stuart L. Mufson, Catherine A. Pilachowski

Associate Professor

Constantine P. Deliyannis

Assistant Professor

Liese van Zee

Academic Advising

Swain Hall West 319, (812) 855-6911

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Introduction

The Department of Astronomy (AST) offers courses toward the B.S. degree in astronomy and astrophysics as well as 100-level courses for non-astronomy majors. This degree program is designed to prepare students for graduate study and a subsequent career in astronomy and astrophysics. The program also serves the needs of students preparing for careers in related technical fields. Students enrolled in this program use the telescopes at the campus observatories, the Morgan-Monroe State Forest Observatory, and the Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale NOAO Observatory. Students also use the extensive computing facilities in Swain Hall.

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Major in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Students must complete the following fundamental skills and distribution requirements for the B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

  • Writing, same as the general requirements for the B.A. degree.
  • Foreign language, 3 credit hours (or the equivalent) at or above the second-year level. French, Spanish, German, or Russian is normally required.
  • Two courses in arts and humanities.
  • Two courses in social and historical studies.
  • Two courses in natural and mathematical sciences, fulfilled by major.

Concentration Requirements Students must complete the following:

  • Mathematics M211, M212, M311, and M343.
  • Physics P221-P222, P301, P331-P332, and two of P441, P442, P453, or P454.
  • Astronomy A221-A222, A305, and two 400-level astronomy courses other than S499.

Students must also complete the requirements and procedures listed under "General Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees" in this bulletin.

Recommendations

The following additional physics courses are highly recommended for students planning graduate study in astronomy and astrophysics: P321, P340, P460, and an additional 400-level sequence (P441-P442 or P453-P454). Other suggested courses are Physics P309, P400; Mathematics M312, M344; Computer Science A201-A202 or C211-C212; Geological Sciences G121; History and Philosophy of Science X222, X390, X391; Chemistry C117, C118.

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Minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics

A program leading to a minor in astronomy and astrophysics is provided for students who have a serious interest in the field but do not plan to major in the subject. To obtain a minor in astronomy and astrophysics, a student must take the following courses: two 100-level astronomy courses (all combinations are acceptable except A100 and A110, or A105 and A110) A221, A222, and one of A305, A320, A451 or A452. Altogether, these provide at least 17 credit hours. A student must take all necessary prerequisites, including some mathematics and physics classes. Substitution of other astronomy courses may be made with the permission of the department. Replacement of 100-level astronomy courses by 300- or 400-level astronomy courses is encouraged. The cumulative GPA of all courses taken for the minor must be at least 2.000.

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Departmental Honors Program

The honors program is designed for superior students who plan to pursue graduate studies in astronomy and astrophysics. Students wishing to pursue the honors program should contact the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Astronomy during the second semester of their sophomore year or first semester of their junior year. To be admitted to the honors program, students must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.300 and a minimum GPA of 3.300 in their astronomy, mathematics, and physics courses. Students must maintain these GPAs to receive a degree with honors in astronomy and astrophysics.

In the honors program, students complete the same requirements as the regular B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics and in addition take Astronomy S499 Honors Research. Astronomy S499 is to be taken one or both semesters during the senior year and counts for 3 credits each time it is taken. Students will carry out research supervised by a faculty member in the department. During the second semester of the senior year, the student will write a research report and make an oral presentation describing the work to the Department of Astronomy in a minicolloquium.

Recommended Schedule for Honors Astronomy and Astrophysics Program

Freshman
Mathematics M211-M212
Physics P221-P222
Astronomy A221-A222 (Students with good high school preparation in physics and mathematics are encouraged to take A221-A222 during the freshman year.)

Sophomore
Mathematics M311 and M343
Physics P301
Astronomy A221-A222 (if not taken during freshman year)

Junior
Physics P331-P332 and P453 (if taking the P453- P454 sequence). (P453 is taught in the spring semester, and P454 is taught in the fall semester.)
Astronomy A305, A451, A452, or A453 (A305, A452, and A451 are offered in alternate years).

Senior
Physics P441-P442 or P454
Astronomy A305 and S499. A451, A452, or A453

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Course Descriptions

Note: A100, A102, A103, A105, A110, and A115 are introductory astronomy courses of comparable difficulty. No one of them is considered a prerequisite for any other. A110 is a survey of all modern astronomy in one course. A100 and A105 divide the A110 material into two parts. Taken together, A100 and A105 cover essentially the same material as A110 but in greater depth. A102 covers selected topics in astronomy with an emphasis on the role of gravity. A115 is an introduction to cosmology that also covers many topics in basic astronomy.

A100 The Solar System (3 cr.) N & M Celestial sphere, constellations, apparent motions of celestial objects, eclipses, history of astronomy, astronomical observations, the Earth as a planet, the Moon, the planets and their satellites, comets, meteors, theories of the origin of the solar system. Credit not given for both A100 and A110. I Sem., II Sem., SS.

A102 Gravity, the Great Attractor: Evolution of Planets, Stars, and Galaxies (3 cr.) N & M, TFR The fundamental role of gravity in shaping the evolution of planets, stars, galaxies and other astrophysical systems is the underlying theme. The scientific method will be emphasized. Topics will include planetary systems, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, binary X-ray sources, gamma-ray bursts, galaxies, and the large scale structure of the universe.

A103 The Search for Life in the Universe (3 cr.) N & M Explores the origin, nature, and history of life on Earth, prospects for life in our own and other planetary systems, extra solar planet detection, and the possibility of other technological civilizations.

A105 Stars and Galaxies (3 cr.) N & M Introduction to the physical universe. Topics include constellations, gravity, radiation, the Sun, structure and evolution of stars, neutron stars and black holes, the Milky Way galaxy, normal galaxies, active galaxies, quasars, cosmology, and the search for extraterrestrial life. Credit given for only one of A105 or A110. I Sem., II Sem., SS.

A110 Introduction to Astronomy (3 cr.) N & M Earth as a planet, satellites, and comets. The Sun. Properties of stars, stellar systems. Extragalactic objects. The nature of the observable universe. Credit not given for both A100 and A110, nor for both A105 and A110. I Sem., II Sem., SS.

A115 Birth and Death of the Universe (3 cr.) N & M Introduction to cosmology. Traces the ideas describing the origin and evolution of the universe from ancient geocentric cosmologies to the Big Bang cosmology. A115 does not count toward the astronomy or the astrophysics major.

A221 General Astronomy I (4 cr.) N & M P: College algebra and trigonometry or high school equivalent. For physical science majors. Introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics, including basic principles of mechanics, optics, and radiation. Topics include solar system, stars, interstellar matter, galaxies, cosmology, and observational astronomy from radio to gamma rays. Credit given for only one of A201 or A221. I Sem.

A222 General Astronomy II (4 cr.) N & M P: College algebra and trigonometry or high school equivalent, A221. Continuation of A221. For physical science majors. Introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics, including basic principles of mechanics, optics, and radiation. Topics include solar system, stars, interstellar matter, galaxies, cosmology, and observational astronomy from radio to gamma rays. Credit given for only one of A202 or A222. II Sem.

A305 Modern Observational Techniques (4 cr.) P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, calculus, PHYS P201- P202 or P221-P222, consent of instructor. Telescopes, astronomical imaging, spectroscopic and photometric observations, and reductions. I Sem.

A320 Computational Problems in Astronomy (3 cr.) P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, MATH M212, PHYS P221-P222. R: previous computer experience is helpful. Problem-solving exercises in stellar astronomy, galaxies, and astronomical spectroscopy. Topics include orbital solutions of binary stars, structure of the Milky Way, and astronomical distance scales.

A390 Reading Course (1-3 cr.) P: A201-A202 or A221-A222, consent of instructor. May be taken for a maximum of 6 credits. I Sem., II Sem., SS.

A451 Stellar Astrophysics (3 cr.) P: Calculus, PHYS P301 or equivalent. Application of basic physical principles to investigation of the solar system, stars, and the Milky Way galaxy.

A452 Extragalactic Astrophysics (3 cr.) P: Calculus, PHYS P301 or equivalent. (A451 not P to A452.) Application of basic physical principles to investigation of galaxies and cosmology.

A453 Topical Astrophysics (3 cr.) P: Calculus, P301 or equivalent. Topics in astrophysics not covered extensively by other courses. The topic will vary depending on instructor. Possible topics include the solar system, celestial mechanics, astrobiology, stellar interiors, stellar atmospheres, stellar populations, galaxy dynamics, and cosmology. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

S499 Honors Research (3-6 cr.) P: Consent of director of undergraduate studies. Students will carry out astronomical research closely supervised by a faculty member in the department. Students will write a research report and given an oral presentation during the second semester of their senior year. May be taken two semesters for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

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