ASTR 111
Introduction to Astrophysics Fall 2024
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

The science of astronomy spans vast scales of space and time, from individual atoms to entire galaxies and from the universe’s beginning to the future fate of our Sun. In this course, we will survey some of the main ideas in modern astrophysics, with an emphasis on the physics of stars and galaxies. ASTR 111 is the first course in the Astrophysics and Astronomy major sequences. It is also appropriate for students planning to major in one of the other sciences or mathematics and for others who would like a quantitative introduction that emphasizes the relationship of contemporary physics to astronomy. Topics include gravity and orbits, radiation laws and stellar spectra, physical characteristics of the Sun and other stars, star formation and evolution, black holes, galaxies, the expanding universe, and the Big Bang. Students will also use telescopes to observe stars, nebulae, planets, and galaxies and to make daytime observations of the Sun.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; The class has weekly afternoon laboratory sessions, which will alternate between 'hands-on' activities and problem-solving/discussion sessions. Nighttime observing sessions will occur throughout the semester.
Limit: 28; 14/lab
Expected: 15
Class#: 1649
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly problem sets, two hour-long tests, a final exam, lab reports, and an observing portfolio
Prerequisites: a year of high school Physics, concurrent college Physics, or permission of instructor, and MATH 140 or equivalent
Enrollment Preferences: potential Astronomy majors
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: The course requires regular problem sets and quantitative assignments. The course will emphasize how physical equations explain the observed properties of the universe.

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