Teaching College Astronomy I

GRS AS 699 (2 credits)

The goals, contents, and methods of instruction in astronomy. General teaching-learning issues. Required of all teaching fellows.

Introduction to Astrophysics

GRS AS 701 (4 credits)

Introduction to astronomical and astrophysical nomenclature and concepts. Coordinate systems, celestial orbits, radiation, stars, stellar structure, stellar evolution, clusters of stars, galactic components, galactic structure, galaxy types, active galaxies, cosmology.

2015FALLGRSAS701 A1, Sep 2nd to Dec 9th 2015
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
WF 9:30 am 11:00 am CAS 502

Introduction to Space Physics

GRS AS 703 (4 credits)

Survey of physical phenomena in the sun, solar wind, magnetospheres, ionospheres, and upper atmospheres of objects in the solar system. Introduction to the physical processes governing space plasmas, solar-terrestrial interactions, and ionized and neutral media surrounding the Earth and other solar system bodies.

2015FALLGRSAS703 A1, Sep 3rd to Dec 10th 2015
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
TR 9:30 am 11:00 am CAS 502

Observational Techniques

GRS AS 710 (4 credits)

Telescopes, light detection, and analysis tools and techniques of experimental astronomy. Signal-to-noise calculations. Photometric and spectroscopic instrumentation and applications. Use of the observatory, CCD light detectors, modern software analysis tools, image processing. Proposal writing and science writing.

2015FALLGRSAS710 A1, Sep 2nd to Dec 9th 2015
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
M 9:30 am 11:00 am CAS 502
W 2:00 pm 3:30 pm CAS 502

Radiative Processes in Astrophysics

GRS AS 712 (4 credits)

Generation, propagation, and transfer of electromagnetic radiation. Spectral energy distributions, continuum radiation, spectral lines. Interaction of radiation with matter, transfer of radiation through astrophysical media. Thermal and nonthermal radiative processes.

Astronomical Spectroscopy

GRS AS 713 (4 credits)

Spectroscopic processes in astrophysics. Energy levels in atoms and molecules. Atomic and molecular spectral lines. Excitation of atoms and molecules. Transfer of line radiation. Spectroscopic instruments. Derivation of physical parameters from spectroscopic observations.

Gravitational Astrophysics

GRS AS 725 (4 credits)

Orbital theory: two-body and three-body problems. Gravitational encounters. N-body problem and star/galaxy clusters. Precession and nutation. Special and General relativity. Collapsed stellar objects and black holes. Gravitational lensing.

2016SPRGGRSAS725 A1, Jan 19th to Apr 28th 2016
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
TR 9:30 am 11:00 am CAS 502

Cosmic Gas Dynamics

GRS AS 726 (4 credits)

Gas dynamics as applied to astrophysical settings. Basic fluid mechanics. Ideal gases. One-dimensional gas flow. Supersonic flows and shock waves. Quasar jets and stellar winds. Fluid instabilities, turbulence, and convection.

2016SPRGGRSAS726 A1, Jan 20th to Apr 27th 2016
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
MW 9:30 am 11:00 am CAS 502

Plasma Physics

GRS AS 727 (4 credits)

Physics of space and astrophysical plasmas. Individual particle drifts in fields, electrostatic and electromagnetic waves and instabilities, magnetohydrodynamics, kinetic theory of waves, instabilities, and Landau damping.

The Interstellar Medium

GRS AS 751 (4 credits)

Interstellar medium components and phases. Neutral hydrogen clouds, 21 cm line, Zeeman effect. Ionized nebulae, free-free radiation, recombination lines, ionization balance, thermal balance. Molecular clouds, collisional and radiative excitation, line formation and propagation, rotational and vibrational energies. Interstellar chemistry.

2015FALLGRSAS751 A1, Sep 2nd to Dec 9th 2015
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
W 3:30 pm 5:00 pm CAS 502
F 2:00 pm 3:30 pm CAS 502

Normal Galaxies and the Milky Way

GRS AS 753 (4 credits)

Normal galaxies and the Milky Way as systems. Stellar components and clusters, elliptical and disk galaxies. Luminosity functions, radial distributions, distance indicators, triaxial spheroids, and central bars. Motions near the sun, asymmetric drift, velocity ellipsoid, galactic rotation, Oort formulae, gas distributions, galactic center.

High-Energy Astrophysics

GRS AS 757 (4 credits)

Physics of interactions between high-energy particles and photons. Compton scattering; nuclear collisions; acceleration and energy losses of high-energy particles; neutrino production; physics of cosmic rays; pulsars; accretion onto compact objects; active galactic nuclei and other high-energy phenomena.


GRS AS 759 (4 credits)

Modern physical cosmology. The Friedmann equation, expansion of the universe and the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Determination of fundamental cosmological parameters. Large-scale structure, galaxy formation, active galaxies, and quasars. Dark matter and dark energy in the universe. The inflation era.

Planetary Atmospheres

GRS AS 781 (4 credits)

Planetary and cometary atmospheres; atmospheric vertical mixing; radiative processes; catalytic ozone destruction; aurorae and airglow; planetary ionospheres; energy budgets. Planetary evolution: solar nebula, outgassing, water loss on Venus and Mars, escape of light gases, greenhouse effect, isotope fractionation, impact theory.

2016SPRGGRSAS781 A1, Jan 19th to Apr 28th 2016
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
TR 2:00 pm 3:30 pm CAS 502


GRS AS 783 (4 credits)

The formation of the ionosphere. The structure and dynamics of the ionosphere and thermosphere. Aeronomy. Thermosphere/ionosphere coupling. Ionospheric electric fields and current systems. Ionospheric storms. Ionospheric waves and irregularities. Active experiments in space. Radio and optical ionospheric diagnostics.


GRS AS 785 (4 credits)

Solar wind/magnetosphere interaction. Magnetospheric dynamics and substorms. Magnetospheric electric fields and current systems. Ionosphere/magnetosphere coupling. The aurora. Magnetospheric plasma waves and instabilities. In situ plasma and field diagnostics.

The Sun and Heliosphere

GRS AS 786 (4 credits)

Fundamentals of solar and heliospheric physics, including observational methods and theory from the sun's interior through interplanetary space and into the local interstellar medium. The sun as a star. Relation of our heliosphere to astrospheres surrounding other stars.

Special Topics in Astrophysics

GRS AS 791 (4 credits)

Lecture course examining special topics of current interest in astrophysics. Offered as a 2- or 4-credit course, depending on the topic.

Graduate Research and Scholarship

GRS AS 802 (2 credits)

An introduction to the methods of research and scholarship required for successful graduate study and the associated ethical issues. Topics include choosing a research advisor, the research topic, the research record, scholarly writing and publishing, intellectual property, and research funding.

Research Methods in Astronomical Data Analysis

GRS AS 803 (2 credits)

Computer programming skills, elementary image and data processing, visualization techniques for astronomical datasets. Flat fielding, bias removal, sky subtraction, median filtering, CLEAN algorithm, point-source extraction. Fitting functions to data, solving linear and nonlinear equations numerically, approximating solutions of differential equations.