ASTR 101
Stars: From Suns to Black Holes Fall 2023
Division III

Class Details

Looking at the Sun and the sky at night have you ever wondered why they are shining and what they are made of? Do they evolve and if so how do they change? The last decade has brought exciting new astronomical discoveries. For the first time a gravitational wave signal produced by merging of two black holes has been detected. The gravitational wave antennas detected the merger of two neutron stars which also caused flashes throughout the whole electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to very energetic gamma rays. We now know that most of the heavy elements that exist in nature were formed during mergers of neutron stars. Large telescopes, new detectors, and new observational techniques have also made possible the discovery of thousands of exoplanets. The recently launched James Webb telescope is discovering galaxies that were formed soon after the Big Bang and is observing atmospheres of exoplanets to search for possible signs of life. Here on Earth, there is soon to be total solar eclipse that will be visible in the Southern and North-Eastern parts of the US on April 8, 2024. In this course, to help you appreciate and better understand the continuous stream of astronomical discoveries, we will discuss the basic methods and instruments used in astronomical observations, but also discuss what is happening at the centers of stars and how they evolve and why some stars explode and form neutron stars and black holes.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; lecture (two sessions per week), observing sessions (scattered throughout the semester), afternoon labs (five times per semester), and a planetarium demonstration. Planetarium and Roof-Observatory TAs will be available for consultation, in addition to the instructors, throughout the semester.
Limit: 30
Expected: 20
Class#: 1231
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two hour tests, a final exam, an observing portfolio, and lab reports
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first enrolled
Unit Notes: non-major course
Distributions: Division III

Class Grid

Updated 7:51 am

Course Catalog Search

(searches Title and Course Description only)



Start Time
End Time