Courses

Graduate Courses

Note that further info about courses is on our PhD program page.

AST 5145 Asteroids Comets Meteors

This course covers the physical, compositional, and structural properties of solar system small bodies, and their interrelationships. Offered in even falls. Usually taught by Prof. Campins.

AST 5154 Advanced Planetary Geophysics

This course covers the physics of planetary evolution, of planetary interiors, and of planetary surface processes. Offered in odd springs. Usually taught by Prof. Britt.

AST 5165 Planetary Atmospheres

This course covers the basics of atmospheric physics and chemistry, and applies it to planets (including Earth) and satellites in our solar system as well as those orbiting other stars. Offered in even springs. Usually taught by Prof. Harrington.

AST 5263 Advanced Observational Astronomy

This course covers experimental designs and experimental techniques, spherical astronomy, and the physics of telescopes and of common astronomical detectors. Offered in even springs. Usually taught by Prof. Fernandez.

AST 5334 Extrasolar Planets and Brown Dwarfs

This course covers the physics of substellar-mass objects, their formation, evolution, dynamics, detection, and environments. Offered occasionally.

AST 5765 Advanced Astronomical Data Analysis

This course covers concepts on advanced astronomical data formation and acquisition, detector physics, measurement extraction, error analysis, modeling, computer programming, statistics, interpretation, and written and oral presentation of results. Offered every fall. Usually taught by Prof. Harrington.

AST 5937 Special Topics: Astrobiology

This course covers the physics, chemistry, and biology of life on Earth as they relate to astrophysical concepts. Offered occasionally.

AST 6112 Origin and Evolution of Planetary Systems

This course covers the observations and properties of extrasolar planets and circumstellar disks through physics of disk evolution and planet formation. It also covers the dynamical evolution of planetary systems. Offered in odd springs. Usually taught by Prof. Colwell.

AST 6156 Current Topics in Planetary Science

A seminar style course, but with significant student participation. The topic is usually a current NASA mission and its destination. The Spring 2014 version of the course covered Pluto, Charon, and the New Horizons mission. The Fall 2015 version of the course covers the Martian satellites Phobos and Deimos, and possible missions. The Spring 2017 version of the course covers In-Situ Resource Utilization in space. Offered occasionally. Can be repeated for credit. Taught by several faculty.

AST 6938 Special Topics: Planetary Seminar

A seminar style course, but with significant student participation. The topic is usually a current NASA mission and its destination. The Spring 2013 version of the course covered Vesta, Mercury, the Dawn mission, and the MESSENGER mission. Offered occasionally. Can be repeated for credit. Taught by several faculty.

Undergraduate Courses

AST 2002 Astronomy

General education, covers all of astronomy and planetary sciences at the introductory level. This course satisfies one of the GEP requirements. Offered every fall and every spring. Taught by many faculty.

AST 2037 Life in the Universe

Introductory material on astrobiology. Thought provoking journey through solar system environments and extrasolar planets to establish the probability of life on other planets in our solar system and beyond. Offered occasionally. Usually taught by Prof. Montgomery.

AST 3211 Stellar Astrophysics

The physics and dynamics of stars, including star formation and stellar formation. Offered even springs. Usually taught by Prof. Montgomery or Prof. Cooney.

AST 3402 Galaxies and Cosmology

Study of the different types of galaxies, their evolution, their relationship to active galaxies and quasars, and the evolution of the Universe. Offered odd falls. Usually taught by Prof. Cooney or Prof. Montgomery.

AST 4142 Asteroids Comets and Meteorites

Asteroids, comets, and meteorites and their role in the origin and evolution of our solar system. Offered even falls. Usually taught by Prof. Campins.

AST 4152 Planetary Geophysics

Physics of planetary evolution, planetary interiors, and planetary surface processes. Offered odd springs. Usually taught by Prof. Britt.

AST 4700 Experimental Methods in Astronomy

This course covers important concepts regarding the actual planning of telescopic experiments in astronomy. Students gain a more detailed and more elaborate understanding of how our rotating platform of Earth constrains what we can see in the Universe at any given time. Students also learn the physics behind telescopes, detectors, and other astronomical equipment. Offered even springs. Usually taught by Prof. Fernández.

AST 4762 Astronomical Data Analysis

This course covers astronomical data formation and acquisition, detector physics, measurement extraction, error analysis, modeling, computer programming, statistics, interpretation, and written and oral presentation of results. Offered approximately every fall.  It meets with AST 5765 but has a project and homework appropriate for the undergraduate level. Offered every fall. Usually taught by Prof. Harrington. Satisfies a lab requirement, by petition. PREREQ: Ability to program a computer. Students unprepared in programming often find this course overwhelming! PHZ 3150 was developed to satisfy this requirement. See the web site, above, for more.

MET 2104 The Earth’s Climate

An introduction to the history, physics, and dynamics of the Earth’s climate. There are no prerequisites for this course. Offered occasionally. Usually taught by Prof. Britt.

PHZ 3150 Introduction to Numerical Computing

To be a STEM researcher, you have to be able to program a computer to process and simulate data.  This introduction for first-time programmers uses Python, the most popular free language used for data analysis in the physical sciences.  Students learn on their own computers, so they will have access to programming after the course is over.  Topics also include the Unix shell, shell scripting, revision control, planning and debugging, object-oriented programming, and a selection of numerical topics including Monte Carlo simulation, integration and differentiation, interpolation, and 2D and 3D visualization. Satisfies the programming prerequisite for AST 4762/5765.