Indiana University
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Course Descriptions

Undergraduate Courses

  • A100 The Solar System (3 cr.) N&M (for non-science majors)

This is a one semester course that studies the celestial sphere and 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 is not given for both A100 and A110.

  • A103 The Search for Life in the Universe (3 cr.) N&M (for non-science majors)

The search for life and life-friendly environments in the universe is an interdisciplinary focus of modern science. This course explores the origin, nature, and history of life on Earth, prospects for life in our own and other planetary systems, extrasolar planet detection, and the possibility of other technological civilizations.

  • A105 Stars and Galaxies (3 cr.) N&M (for non-science majors)

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 is not given for both A105 and A110.

  • A115 Birth and Death of the Universe (3 cr.) N&M  (for non-science majors)

Introduction to cosmology. Traces the ideas describing the origin and evolution of the Universe from ancient geocentric cosmologies to the Big Bang cosmology.

  • A221 General Astronomy I (4 cr.) N&M (for science and astronomy majors)
Introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics, including basic principles of mechanics, gravity, optics, radiation, and observational and experimental methods. A main theme is to explore how these principles affect the evolution of our scientific understanding of astronomical phenomena. Topics typically include the night sky, planetary bodies, the Sun and our solar system, and stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Prerequisites include Math M025 and M026 or high school equivalent.
  • A222 General Astronomy II (4 cr.) N&M (for science and astronomy majors)
Application of basic principles of gravity, mechanics, optics, and radiation to modern astronomy and astrophysics. Topics typically include stars, stellar populations, interstellar matter, galaxies, cosmology, and observational astronomy from radio to gamma rays. Prerequisites include A221 and Math M025 and M026 or high school equivalent.
  • A305 Modern Observational Techniques (4 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This course is a one semester course offered every other year in which telescopes, astronomical imaging, spectroscopic and photoelectric observations and reductions are taught. The prerequisites for this course are: A221-A222, calculus, Physics P201-P202 or P221-P222, or consent of the instructor.
  • A320 Computational Problems in Astronomy (3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This course is a one semester course in which problem-solving exercises in stellar astronomy, galaxies, and astronomical spectroscopy are covered. Topics include orbital solutions of binary stars, structure of the Milky Way, and astronomical distance scales. The prerequisites for this course are: A221-A222, Mathematics M212 or M216, and Physics P221-P222. It is recommended that students have taken Computer Science C301 or equivalent FORTRAN programming experience.
  • A390 Reading Course (1-3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This is an arranged reading course taken with the consent of an instructor and has a prerequisite of A221 and A222.
  • A450 Galactic Astrophysics (3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This is a one semester course offered every other year in which basic physical principles are applied to an investigation of Galactic structure, kinematics, chemical properties, stellar populations, and theories of formation and evolution of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. The course fulfills the College's intensive writing requirement. The prerequisites are Calculus, Physics P301, and A222 or consent of instructor.
  • A451 Stellar Astrophysics (3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This is a one semester course offered every other year in which basic physical principles are applied to investigation of the solar system, stars, and the Milky Way galaxy. The prerequisites are Calculus, Physics P301, and A222 or consent of instructor.
  • A452 Extragalactic Astrophysics (3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
This is a one semester course offered every other year in which basic physical principles are applied to investigation of galaxy formation, galaxy evolution, large scale structure, and cosmology. The prerequisites are Calculus, Physics P301, A222 or consent of instructor.
  • A453 Topics in Astrophysics (3 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
Topics in astrophysics not covered extensively by other courses. Possible topics include 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. The prerequisites are Calculus, Physics P301, A222 or consent of instructor.
  • S499 Honors Research (3-6 cr.) (for astronomy majors)
Students will carry out astronomical research closely supervised by a faculty member in the department. Students will write a research report and give an oral presentation during the second semester of their senior year. May be taken two semesters for a maximum of 6 credit hours. Prerequisite is consent of director of undergraduate studies.

Graduate Courses

  • A505 Principles and Techniques of Observational Astronomy (3 cr.)
Principles and techniques of astronomical data acquisition and reduction. Practical experience in photometry, spectroscopy, and astronomical applications of electronic detectors.
  • A520 The Interstellar Medium (3 cr.)
Structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium; review of observations and theory of interstellar gas, dust, and radiation.
  • A530 Galactic Astronomy (3 cr.)
Structure and stellar populations of the Milky Way and Local Group .
  • A540 Stellar Atmospheres (3 cr.)
Structure of atmospheres and formation of spectra.
  • A550 Stellar Interiors (3 cr.)
Physical properties of stellar material; structure and evolution of stars. Students enrolled in this course must have completed mathematics courses through differential equations.
  • A570 Galactic Dynamics (3 cr.)

Principles of stellar dynamics.  Analytic and computer methods.  Applications to the galaxy and its star clusters.

  • A575 Structure and Evolution of Galaxies (3 cr.)
Structure and evolution of galaxies, large-scale clustering of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and quasars.
  • A580 Physical and Observational Cosmology (3 cr.)
Observational basis for current cosmological theory. Early universe evolution, cosmic microwave background radiation, formation of cosmic structure.
  • A590 Graduate Reading Course (credit hours arranged)
Independent reading in astronomy and astrophysics.
  • A770 Seminar in Astrophysics (credit hrs. arranged; may be repeated; S/F grading)
Selected topics of current research interest in astrophysics; includes topics such as stellar atmospheres, stellar evolution, interstellar matter, solar physics, planetary physics, radio astrophysics, high-energy astrophysics, and plasma physics.
  • A780 Seminar in Astronomy (credit hrs. arranged; may be repeated; S/F grading)
Selected topics of current research interest in astronomy; includes such topics as spectroscopy, photometry, instrumentation, radio astronomy, galactic and extragalactic astronomy, and cosmology.
  • A890 Introduction to Research (credit hours are arranged)
Literature and methods of astronomical research.
  • A899 Research (credit hours are arranged)
Observational and theoretical investigations of current problems.
  • G630 Nuclear Astrophysics (3 cr.)
Applications of nuclear physics to astronomy. Fundamental properties of nuclei and nuclear reactions. Element synthesis and energy generation in the big bang, stellar interiors, and supernovae. Discussion of current topics: cosmological nucleosynthesis, solar neutrino flux, explosive nucleosynthesis, high-energy nuclear processes. Prerequisites for this course are: A451, P453-P454, or consent of instructor. It is recommended that students have taken A550 and P511.
  • G650 High Energy Astrophysics (3 cr.)
Covers cosmic rays from the perspective of astrophysics and high-energy particle physics. Examples of topics that may be included are the production, propagation, and interactions of cosmic rays as well as the experimental detection of cosmic rays. Subtopics include atmospheric and solar neutrinos, magnetic monopoles, point sources of cosmic rays, neutrino oscillations, air showers, and stellar collapse detection.
  • G750 Topics in Astrophysical Sciences(1-3 credit hours)
A seminar in astrophysics with special emphasis on subjects involving more than one department. Examples of such topics include planetology, nucleosynthesis, nuclear cosmochronology, isotopic anomalies in meteorites, particle physics of the early universe, and atomic processes in astrophysical systems.
  • G901 Advanced Research (6 credit hours)
Advanced research