Jump to Courses Numbered:
100 – 111 Astronomy Courses at the Introductory Level for Non-Majors
200 – 492 Courses for Astronomy Majors or Minors (& related fields)
700 – 912 Astronomy Graduate Courses

** All courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted. **


 
CAS AS 100 — Cosmic Controversies
The goal of this course is to understand our place in the physical universe by examining three recent concepts that have revolutionized cosmic awareness. The observations that led to the proposals of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the re- classification of Pluto to non-planet status, and the discovery of many planets orbiting other stars within life-sustaining regions called Habitable Zones radically change the human perspectives on origins and life. In each case, the roles of evidence, validation and conclusions are used to enhance students capabilities and skills needed for our modern age. Carries natural science divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Teamwork/Collaboration.
 
CAS AS 101 — The Solar System
The historical development of astronomy and the motion of the planets. The formation of the solar system. The sun and its effects on the earth. Description of the planets and the moons of our solar system including recent results from the space program. Use of the observatory. Carries natural science divisional credit (with lab) in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.
 
CAS AS 102 — The Astronomical Universe
The birth and death of stars. Red giants, white dwarfs, black holes. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, and other galaxies. The Big Bang and other cosmological theories of our expanding universe. Carries natural science divisional credit (with lab) in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Teamwork/Collaboration.
 
CAS AS 105 — Alien Worlds
Examination of planets in other star systems and comparison with planets in our solar system. Study the historical context of planetary astrophysics and changes in our understanding of planetary formation and evolution. Explore the possibility of life on other worlds. Carries natural science divisional credit (without lab) in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Scientific Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
 
CAS AS 107 — Life Beyond Earth: A Consideration of Extraterrestrial Civilizations
About 10% of the planets in our Milky Way galaxy are like Earth in size and material composition. The same physical laws operate everywhere so extraterrestrial life may be both common and technologically advanced. Where is Everybody? Carries natural science divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I.
 
CAS AS 109 — Cosmology
The evolution of cosmological thought from prehistory to the present: Greek astronomy, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. Motion, gravity, and the nature of space-time. The expanding universe. The early universe and Big Bang. Carries natural science divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.
 
CAS AS 111 — Energy: The History of a Concept
Traces the development of the concept of energy from the 17th century till today. Explores how the concept of energy and the conservation of energy are central to our current understanding of the physical and biological worlds and the universe. Previously offered as KHC AS 102. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Scientific Inquiry I.

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CAS AS 202 — Principles of Astronomy I
Undergraduate Corequisites: CAS MA 123. Astronomical observing and the night sky; optics and telescopes; birth of modern astronomy; atoms, spectra and spectroscopy; planetary motion and orbits; overview of solar system; uses observatory. Intended primarily for astronomy or physics majors. Lectures and laboratories. Carries natural science divisional credit (with lab) in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.
 
CAS AS 203 — Principles of Astronomy II
Undergraduate Corequisites: CAS MA 123. Astronomical measurements; time and the celestial sphere; telescopes and observatories; the solar system, orbital motion; comparative planetology; the sun and solar-terrestrial effects; electromagnetic radiation; spectroscopy, stellar properties and stellar evolution; the Milky Way galaxy; galaxies; the universe. Lectures and laboratories. Intended primarily for astronomy or physics concentrators. Carries natural science divisional credit (with lab) in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning II, Critical Thinking.
 
CAS AS 311 — Planetary Physics
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS MA 124 and either CAS PY 211 or CAS PY 251. Celestial mechanics, tides, resonances. Physical processes that affect atmospheres, surfaces, interiors of planets, and their satellites. Comets, asteroids, meterorites, and Kuiper belt objects. Formation and evolution of the solar system. Extra-solar planets. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Scientific Inquiry II, Teamwork/Collaboration.
 
CAS AS 312 — Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS MA 124 and either CAS PY 212 or CAS PY 252. Basic physics of radiation; radiative transfer; spectral analysis; distances, motions, and physical properties of stars; stellar interiors and atmospheres; stellar evolution; clusters of stars; the interstellar medium; content, structure, and rotation of the Milky Way Galaxy. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning II, Teamwork/Collaboration. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Quantitative Reasoning II, Scientific Inquiry II, Creativity/Innovation.

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CAS AS 401 — Honors Work in Astronomy
Undergraduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor and approval of Honors Proposal by both the Astronomy Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Department Chair. Directed research culminating in a senior thesis. Requirement for honors in Astronomy. Four credits for each of two consecutive semesters of the senior year.
 
CAS AS 402 — Honors Work in Astronomy
Undergraduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor and approval of Honors Proposal by both the Astronomy Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Department Chair. Directed research culminating in a senior thesis. Requirement for honors in Astronomy. Four credits for each of two consecutive semesters of the senior year.
 
CAS AS 413 — Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS AS 203, CAS AS 312, and CAS PY 355. Historical and intellectual developments that led to our current understanding of the universe; galaxies, galaxy clusters and large-scale structure; galaxy formation and evolution; dark matter and dark energy; Hot Big Bang and inflation; foundations of general relativity. (Offered alternate years.) Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
 
CAS AS 414 — Solar and Space Physics
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS PY 355, and either CAS PY 212 or CAS PY 252. The Sun and Solar Wind: solar magnetic fields, sunspot cycle, active sun, corona. Interaction of the solar wind with planets and comets. Planetary Magnetospheres and Ionospheres. Aeronomy. Solar System plasma physics. Magnetic Storms and Space Weather. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
 
CAS AS 441 — Observational Astronomy
Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS AS 312. Astronomical techniques. Photometry, spectroscopy, photography, CCD imaging, and interferometry. Statistical methods for data reduction and analysis. Strong laboratory component. Use of computers. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Oral and/or Signed Communication, Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.
 
CAS AS 491 — Directed Studies in Astronomy
(Variable credits)
Undergraduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor and approval of CAS Academic Advising Office. Devoted to an intensive study of a particular aspect of astronomy, often working with a member of the faculty on a specific research project.
 
CAS AS 492 — Directed Studies in Astronomy
(Variable credits)
Undergraduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor and approval of CAS Academic Advising Office. Devoted to an intensive study of a particular aspect of astronomy, often working with a member of the faculty on a specific research project.

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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.
 
GRS AS 703 — Introduction to Space Physics
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.
 
GRS AS 704 — 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.
 
GRS AS 706 — Radiative Processes and Spectroscopy
Generation, propagation, and transfer of electromagnetic radiation. Spectral energy distributions, continuum radiation, atomic and molecular spectral lines. Energy levels in atoms and molecules. Interaction of radiation with matter, transfer of radiation through astrophysical media. Thermal and nonthermal radiative processes.
 
GRS AS 708 — Cosmic Plasma Physics
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.
 
GRS AS 709 — 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.
 
GRS AS 720 — Graduate Research & Scholarship
(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.
 

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GRS AS 751 — The Interstellar Medium
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 704 and GRS AS 706. 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.
 
GRS AS 753 — Normal Galaxies and the Milky Way
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 704, and GRS AS 706. 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.
 
GRS AS 757 — High-Energy Astrophysics
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 704, GRS AS 706, and GRS AS 708. 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 — Cosmology
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 704, and GRS AS 706. 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.
 
GRS AS 781 — Planetary Atmospheres
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 704. 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.
 
GRS AS 783 — Ionospheres
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 704, GRS AS 706, and GRS AS 708. 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 — Magnetospheres
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 704, GRS AS 706, and GRS AS 708. 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.
 
GRS AS 786 — The Sun and Heliosphere
Graduate Prerequisites: GRS AS 701, GRS AS 703, GRS AS 704, GRS AS 706, and GRS AS 708. 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.
 

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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.
 
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.
 
GRS AS 850 — Graduate Literature Seminar I
(2 credits)
Weekly seminar offering graduate students the skills and practice needed for reading, evaluating, and discussing scientific peer-reviewed literature on current research topics.
 
GRS AS 851 — Graduate Literature Seminar II
(2 credits)
Weekly seminar offering graduate students the skills and practice needed for reading, evaluating, and discussing scientific peer-reviewed literature on current research topics.
 
GRS AS 865 — Graduate Research Seminar I
(2 credits)
Weekly seminar offering graduate students the skills and practice needed for oral presentations on current research topics and to receive peer and expert feedback.
 
GRS AS 866 — Graduate Research Seminar II
(2 credits)
Weekly seminar offering graduate students the skills and practice needed for oral presentations on current research topics and to receive peer and expert feedback.
 
GRS AS 901 — Research in Astronomy
(Variable credits)

GRS AS 902 — Research in Astronomy
(Variable credits)

GRS AS 911 — Directed Study in Astronomy
(Variable credits)

GRS AS 912 — Directed Study in Astronomy
(Variable credits)

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