Graduate Program – Courses

GRS AS 701 — Introduction to Astrophysics

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. Blanton, Brecher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Brecher – Fall 2013

 

GRS AS 703 — Introduction to Space Physics

Survey of physical phenomena in the sun, solar wind, and 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. Fritz, Hughes. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Fritz – Fall 2013

 

GRS AS 710 — Observational Techniques

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. Blanton, Clemens. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Blanton – Fall 2013

 

GRS AS 712 — Radiative Processes in Astrophysics

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. West. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  West – Spring 2013

 

GRS AS 713 — Astronomical Spectroscopy

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. Clemens, Jackson. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Clemens – Fall 2012

 

GRS AS 725 — Gravitational Astrophysics

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. Brainerd, Brecher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Brecher – Spring 2014

 

GRS AS 726 — Cosmic Gas Dynamics

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. Hughes, Opher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Opher – Spring 2014

 

GRS AS 727 — Cosmic Plasma Physics

Physics of astrophysical and space plasmas. Magnetohydrodynamic waves and instabilities. Magnetoionic theory, electron waves, ion waves. Kinetic theory of waves in plasmas. Landau damping. Kinetic instabilities. Quasi-linear theory. Particle trapping. Fritz, Hughes, Oppenheim. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Oppenheim – Spring 2013

 

GRS AS 751 — Interstellar Medium

Prereq: GRS AS 712, AS 713, AS 726, or consent of instructor. 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. Bania, Clemens, Jackson. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Clemens – Spring 2013

 

GRS AS 753 — Normal Galaxies and the Milky Way

Prereq: GRS AS 712, AS 713, AS 725, AS 726, or consent of instructor. 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 distribution, Galactic center. Brecher, West. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  West – Fall 2010

 

GRS AS 757 — High-Energy Astrophysics

Prereq: GRS AS 712, 725, 726, 727, or consent of instructor. 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. Brecher, Marscher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Brecher – Spring 2013

 

GRS AS 759 — Cosmology

Prereq: GRS AS 712, 713, 725, 726, or consent of instructor. Appearance, content, and physical properties of galaxies. Distances to galaxies and the Hubble Law. Active galaxies and quasars. Geometrical and physical cosmology — the Big Bang model and the early universe. Formation of galaxies and large-scale structure. Alternative cosmologies. Blanton, Brainerd, Brecher, Marscher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Brainerd – Fall 2013

 

GRS AS 781 — Planetary Atmospheres

Prereq: GRS AS 726 or consent of instructor. 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. Clarke, Withers. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Withers – Fall 2012

 

GRS AS 783 — Ionospheres

Prereq: GRS AS 712, 713, 726, 727, or consent of instructor. 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. Oppenheim. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Oppenheim – Spring 2012

 

GRS AS 785 — Magnetospheres

Prereq: GRS AS 712, 713, 726, 727, or consent of instructor. 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. Fritz, Hughes. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Spence – Fall 2005

 

GRS AS 786 — The Sun and Heliosphere

Prereq: GRS AS 701, AS 703, AS 712, AS 713, AS 726, AS 727, or consent of instructor. 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. Opher. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus: 

 

GRS AS 791 — Special Topics in Astrophysics

Lecture course examining special topics of current interest in astrophysics. Offered as a 2 or 4 credit course, depending on the topic. Staff.
Sample syllabus:  Espaillat – Spring 2014

 

GRS AS 793 — Special Topics in Space Physics

Lecture course examining special topics of current interest in solar system space physics. Offered as a 2 or 4 credit course, depending on the topic. Staff.
 

 

GRS AS 802 — Introduction to Professional Astronomy

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. West, Opher, Withers. 2 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Withers – Spring 2014

 

GRS AS 803 — Computational Programming and Numerical Methods

Prereq: GRS AS 701, AS 703, or consent of instructor. Computer programming skills using Interactive Data Language (IDL). Astronomical image processing including flat fielding, bias removal, sky subtraction, filtering, CLEAN algorithm, and point source extraction. Fitting functions to data, solving linear and nonlinear equations numerically, approximating solutions of ordinary differential equations. Opher, Withers. 4 cr.
Sample syllabus:  Withers – Spring 2014

 

GRS AS 850, 851 — Astrophysics Seminar

Weekly seminar offering graduate students and advanced undergraduates discussions of current research topics in astrophysics with staff and visiting scientists. Staff. 2 credits each semester.
 

 

GRS AS 865, 866 — Space Physics Seminar

Weekly seminar offering graduate students and advanced undergraduates discussions of current research topics in space physics with staff and visiting scientists. Staff. 2 credits each semester.
 

 

GRS AS 901, 902 — Research in Astronomy

Bania, Blanton, Brainerd, Brecher, Clarke, Clemens, Crooker, Fritz, Hughes, Jackson, Marscher, Martinis, Mendillo, Oppenheim, Siscoe, West. Variable cr, 1st & 2nd sem.
 

 

GRS AS 911, 912 — Directed Study in Astronomy

Bania, Blanton, Brainerd, Brecher, Clarke, Clemens, Crooker, Fritz, Hughes, Jackson, Marscher, Martinis, Mendillo, Oppenheim, Siscoe, West. Variable cr, 1st & 2nd sem.