Astronomy (ASTR)

* ASTR 040a / PHYS 040a, Expanding Ideas of Time and SpaceMeg Urry

Discussions on astronomy, and the nature of time and space. Topics include the shape and contents of the universe, special and general relativity, dark and light matter, and dark energy. Observations and ideas fundamental to astronomers' current model of an expanding and accelerating four-dimensional universe. Enrollment limited to first-year students.   SC
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 110a, Planets and StarsMichael Faison

Astronomy introduction to stars and planetary systems. Topics include the solar system and extrasolar planets, planet and stellar formation, and the evolution of stars from birth to death. No prerequisite other than a working knowledge of elementary algebra.  QR, SC
MW 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 120b, Galaxies and the UniverseMichael Faison

An introduction to stars and stellar evolution; the structure and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy and other galaxies; quasars, active galactic nuclei, and supermassive black holes; cosmology and the expanding universe. No prerequisite other than a working knowledge of elementary algebra.  QR, SC
MW 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 155a, Introduction to Astronomical ObservingMichael Faison

A hands-on introduction to techniques used in astronomy to observe astronomical objects. Observations of planets, stars, and galaxies using on-campus facilities and remote observing with Yale's research telescopes. Use of electronic detectors and computer-aided data processing. Evening laboratory hours required. One previous college-level science laboratory or astronomy course recommended.  SC½ Course cr
M 7pm-8:45pm

ASTR 170a, Introduction to CosmologyPriyamvada Natarajan

An introduction to modern cosmological theories and observational astronomy. Topics include aspects of special and general relativity; curved space-time; the Big Bang; inflation; primordial element synthesis; the cosmic microwave background; the formation of galaxies; and large-scale structure. Prerequisite: a strong background in high school mathematics and physics.  QR, SC
TTh 4pm-5:15pm

ASTR 210a, Stars and Their EvolutionRobert Zinn

Foundations of astronomy and astrophysics, focusing on an intensive introduction to stars. Nuclear processes and element production, stellar evolution, stellar deaths and supernova explosions, and stellar remnants including white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. A close look at our nearest star, the sun. How extrasolar planets are studied; the results of such studies. Prerequisite: a strong background in high school calculus and physics. May not be taken after ASTR 220.  QR, SC0 Course cr
MW 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 220b, Galaxies and CosmologyRobert Zinn

An intensive introduction to extragalactic astronomy. The structure and contents of galaxies, evolution of galaxies, observational cosmology, and the history of the universe. Students observe a deep-sky object with campus telescopes. Prerequisite: a strong background in high school calculus and physics. May not be taken after ASTR 210.  QR, SC
MW 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 255a / PHYS 295a, Research Methods in AstrophysicsMalena Rice

An introduction to research methods in astronomy and astrophysics. The acquisition and analysis of astrophysical data, including the design and use of ground- and space-based telescopes, computational manipulation of digitized images and spectra, and confrontation of data with theoretical models. Examples taken from current research at Yale and elsewhere. Use of the Python programming language. Prerequisite: background in high school calculus and physics. No previous programming experience required.  QR, SCRP
MWF 10:30am-11:20am

ASTR 310a, Galactic and Extragalactic AstronomyJeffrey Kenney

Structure of the Milky Way galaxy and other galaxies; stellar populations and star clusters in galaxies; gas and star formation in galaxies; the evolution of galaxies; galaxies and their large-scale environment; galaxy mergers and interactions; supermassive black holes and active galactic nuclei. Prerequisites: MATH 115, PHYS 201, and ASTR 210 or 220, or equivalents, or with permission of instructor.  QR, SC
MW 4pm-5:15pm

ASTR 320b, Physical Processes in AstronomyFrank van den Bosch

Introduction to the physics required for understanding current astronomical problems. Topics include basic equations of stellar structure, stellar and cosmic nucleosynthesis, radiative transfer, gas dynamics, and stellar dynamics. Numerical methods for solving these equations. Prerequisites: MATH 120 and PHYS 201 or equivalents, or permission of instructor. Previous experience with computer programming recommended. Taught in alternate years.  QR, SC
TTh 9am-10:15am

ASTR 330b, Scientific Computing in AstrophysicsEarl Bellinger

Scientific computer programming in Astrophysics with a focus on the Python Programming language. Algorithms and workflows for reducing and analyzing Astrophysical datasets, both observational and computational. Emphasis is placed on best coding practices, including readability, version control, documentation, and computational efficiency. Weekly lectures, in-depth tutorial/workshops, and invited outside expert guest speakers. Students complete a programming project based on real astrophysical datasets.  Prerequisite: ASTR 255 or permission of instructor. Some basic programming experience in Python is strongly recommended.
MWF 10:30am-11:20am

ASTR 343b / PHYS 343b, Gravity, Astrophysics, and CosmologyStaff

Introduction to frontier areas of research in astrophysics and cosmology exploring ideas and methods. In­-depth discussion of the physics underlying several recent discoveries including extrasolar planets—their discovery, properties, and issues of habitability; black holes—prediction of their properties from GR, observational signatures, and detection; and the accelerating universe—introduction to cosmological models and the discovery of dark energy. Prerequisites: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261, or permission of instructor.  QR, SC
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* ASTR 356a / ASTR 556 / PHYS 356a, Astrostatistics and Data MiningEarl Bellinger

This course is intended to give students majoring in astronomy, physics, or any other physical science the necessary background to be able to conduct research with large and complex datasets. The course provides an introduction to the tools needed for analyzing large volumes of data and gives students more experience in building codes to analyze to them. The course starts with a review of basic probability and statistics. Students then learn the basics of classical statistical inference, regression and model fitting, Bayesian statistical inference, as well as different data-mining techniques. Coding with the Python programming language. Prerequisite: ASTR 255 or equivalent.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

ASTR 360b, Interstellar Matter and Star FormationHector Arce

The composition, extent, temperature, and density structure of the interstellar medium (ISM). Excitation and radiative processes; the properties of dust; the cold and hot ISM in the Milky Way and other galaxies. Dynamics and evolution of the ISM, including interactions between stars and interstellar matter. Physics and chemistry of molecular clouds and the process of star formation. Prerequisites: MATH 120 and PHYS 201 or equivalents. Taught in alternate years.  QR, SCRP
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* ASTR 375b, ExoplanetsMalena Rice

Planet formation, exoplanet detection techniques, and the modeling of observations of exoplanet atmospheres. Solar system architecture compared with other planetary systems. From an Earth-centric perspective, habitability factors of rocky planets and the implications for life elsewhere. Prerequisites: MATH 120 and PHYS 201 or equivalents, and one astronomy course numbered above 200.  QR, SC
TTh 9am-10:15am

ASTR 385a, Introduction to Radio AstronomyHector Arce

Introduction to the theory and techniques of radio astronomy, including radio emission mechanisms, propagation effects, antenna theory, interferometry, and spectroscopy. Discussion of specific sources such as Jupiter, radio stars, molecular clouds, radio galaxies, ETI, and the microwave background. Includes observational exercises with a small radio telescope. Prerequisites: MATH 120 and PHYS 201 or equivalents.  QR, SC
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

ASTR 418a, Stellar DynamicsMarla Geha

The study of dynamics in astronomy. Stellar dynamics attempts to answer what happens when a large number of particles (stars or galaxies) orbit under the influence of their mutual gravity. This course covers the dynamics of astronomical objects ranging from binary stars to globular clusters to galaxies. Particular emphasis is placed on direct applications to observational data. Taught in alternate years. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and MATH 246 or equivalents; ASTR 310.   QR, SC
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

ASTR 420a, Computational Methods for AstrophysicsPaolo Coppi

The analytic, numerical, and computational tools necessary for effective research in astrophysics and related disciplines. Topics include numerical solutions to differential equations, spectral methods, and Monte Carlo simulations. Applications to common astrophysical problems including fluids and N-body simulations. Prerequisites: ASTR 320, MATH 120, 222 or 225, and 246.  QR
MW 4pm-5:15pm

ASTR 430b, GalaxiesJeffrey Kenney

A survey of the contents, structure, kinematics, dynamics, and evolution of galaxies; galaxy interactions and the environments of galaxies; properties of active galactic nuclei. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and MATH 120, and one astronomy course numbered above 200. Taught in alternate years.  QR, SCRP
MW 4pm-5:15pm

ASTR 450b, Stellar AstrophysicsSarbani Basu

The physics of stellar atmospheres and interiors. Topics include the basic equations of stellar structure, nuclear processes, stellar evolution, white dwarfs, and neutron stars. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and MATH 120. Taught in alternate years.  QR, SC
MW 9am-10:15am

ASTR 465a, The Evolving UniversePieter van Dokkum

Overview of cosmic history from the formation of the first star to the present day, focusing on direct observations of the high-redshift universe. Prerequisites: MATH 120, PHYS 201, and one astronomy course numbered above 200. Taught in alternate years.  QR, SCRP
TTh 9am-10:15am

* ASTR 471a and ASTR 472b, Independent Project in AstronomyMarla Geha

Independent project supervised by a member of the department with whom the student meets regularly. The project must be approved by the instructor and by the director of undergraduate studies; the student is required to submit a complete written report on the project at the end of the term.

* ASTR 490a and ASTR 491b, The Two-Term Senior ProjectMarla Geha

A two-term independent research project to fulfill the senior requirement for the B.S. degree. The project must be supervised by a member of the department and approved by the director of undergraduate studies.

* ASTR 492a or b, The One-Term Senior ProjectMarla Geha

A one-term independent research project or essay to fulfill the senior requirement for the B.A. degree. The project must be supervised by a member of the department and approved by the director of undergraduate studies.