ASTR: Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Course #
Course Title
Course Level
Units
ASTR 1
Introduction to the Cosmos
Lower Division
5 units
Overview of the main ideas in our current view of the universe and how these ideas originated. Galaxies, quasars, stars, black holes, and planets. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 2. (General Education Code(s): SI.)
ASTR 2
Overview of the Universe
Lower Division
5 units
An overview of the main ideas in our current view of the universe, and how they originated. Galaxies, quasars, stars, pulsars, and planets. Intended primarily for nonscience majors interested in a one-quarter survey of classical and modern astronomy. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 3
Introductory Astronomy: Planetary Systems
Lower Division
5 units
Properties of the solar system and other planetary systems. Topics include the Sun, solar system exploration, the physical nature of the Earth and the other planets, comets and asteroids, the origin of the solar system, the possibility of life on other worlds, planet formation, and the discovery and characterization of planets beyond the solar system. Intended for nonscience majors. Courses 3, 4, and 5 are independent and may be taken separately or sequentially. (Formerly Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System.) (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 4
Introductory Astronomy: The Stars
Lower Division
5 units
Stellar evolution: observed properties of stars, internal structure of stars, stages of a star's life including stellar births, white dwarfs, supernovae, pulsars, neutron stars, and black holes. Planet and constellation identification. Intended for nonscience majors. Courses 3, 4, and 5 are independent and may be taken separately or sequentially. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 5
Introductory Astronomy: The Formation and Evolution of the Universe
Lower Division
5 units
The universe explained. Fundamental concepts of modern cosmology (Big Bang, dark matter, curved space, black holes, star and galaxy formation), the basic physics underlying them, and their scientific development. Intended for non-science majors. Courses 3, 4, and 5 are independent and may be taken separately. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 6
The Space-Age Solar System
Lower Division
5 units
Scientific study of the Moon, Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars by the space program; history of rocket development; the Apollo program and exploration of the Moon; unmanned spacecraft studies of the terrestrial planets; scientific theories of planetary surfaces and atmospheres. Intended for nonscience majors. (Formerly course 80A.) (General Education Code(s): SI.)
ASTR 7
Black Holes
Lower Division
5 units
Examines the nature of black holes, including their creation and evolution; evidence for their existence from astronomical observations; and the role of black holes in the evolution of the universe. Also examines current ideas about the nature of space, time, and gravity. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 8
Exploring the Universe with Astronomical Data
Lower Division
5 units
Introduces how we use observational data to learn about stars, galaxies, planets, and cosmology. Covers astronomical data and experimental design and basic physics and statistical techniques, such as model fitting, regression, significance tests, and error estimation. (General Education Code(s): SR.)
ASTR 9A
Introduction to Research in Physics and Astrophysics
Lower Division
2 units
Introduction to research for first-year students interested in physics and astrophysics. Students complete projects in small groups with scientists. Introduces techniques for collaboration; science writing; physics careers. Continuing course spanning two quarters. (Also offered as Physics 9A. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment is restricted to first-year proposed astrophysics and physics majors.
ASTR 9B
Introduction to Research in Physics and Astrophysics
Lower Division
3 units
Introduction to research for first-year students interested in physics and astrophysics. Students complete projects in small groups with scientists. Introduces techniques for collaboration; science writing; physics careers. Continuing course spanning two quarters. (Also offered as Physics 9B. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): course 9A. Enrollment is restricted to first-year proposed applied physics, physics, and physics (astrophysics) majors. (General Education Code(s): PR-E.)
ASTR 12
Stars and Stellar Evolution
Lower Division
5 units
An introduction to the observational facts and physical theory pertaining to stars. Topics include the observed properties of stars and the physics underlying those properties; stellar atmospheres; stellar structure and evolution. Intended for science majors and qualified non-science majors. Knowledge of high school physics and an understanding of mathematics at the Mathematics 2 level required. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 13
Galaxies, Cosmology, and High Energy Astrophysics
Lower Division
5 units
Introduction to modern cosmology and extragalactic astronomy. Topics include the origin of the universe, Big Bang cosmology, expansion of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, properties of galaxies and active galactic nuclei, and very energetic phenomena in our own and other galaxies. Intended for science majors and qualified non-science majors. Knowledge of high school physics and an understanding of mathematics at the Math 2 level required. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 15
Dead Stars and Black Holes
Lower Division
5 units
Course is primarily concerned with the structure, formation, and astrophysical manifestations of compact objects, such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes, and the astronomical evidence for their existence. Intended for science majors and qualified non-science majors. Knowledge of high school physics and an understanding of mathematics at the Math 2 level required. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 16
Astrobiology: Life in the Universe
Lower Division
5 units
Topics include the detection of extrasolar planets, planet formation, stellar evolution and properties of Mars, the exploration of our solar system and the search for life within it, and the evolution of life on Earth. Intended for science majors and qualified non-science majors. Knowledge of high school physics and an understanding of mathematics at the Math 2 level required. Enrollment limited to 50. (General Education Code(s): MF.)
ASTR 18
Planets and Planetary Systems
Lower Division
5 units
Our solar system and newly discovered planetary systems. Formation and structure of planets, moons, rings, asteroids, comets. Intended for science majors and qualified non-science majors. Knowledge of high school physics and an understanding of mathematics at the Mathematics 2 level required. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 111
Order-of-Magnitude Astrophysics
Upper Division
5 units
Examines the most basic and direct connection between physics and astrophysics in order to derive a better understanding of astrophysical phenomena from first principles to the extent possible. Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 22 or 23A; Physics 5B or 6B; and Physics 101A or previous or concurrent enrollment in Physics 102. Enrollment limited to 25.
ASTR 112
Physics of Stars
Upper Division
5 units
The leading observational facts about stars as interpreted by current theories of stellar structure and evolution. Spectroscopy, abundances of the elements, nucleosynthesis, stellar atmospheres, stellar populations. Final stages of evolution, including white dwarfs, neutron stars, supernovae. Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 22 or 23A, Physics 5B or 6B, and Physics 101A or Physics 102
ASTR 113
Introduction to Cosmology
Upper Division
5 units
Physical examination of our evolving universe: the Big Bang model; simple aspects of general relativity; particle physics in the early universe; production of various background radiations; production of elements; tests of geometry of the universe; dark energy and dark matter; and formation and evolution of galaxies and large-scale structure. (Formerly "Physical Cosmology.") Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 22 or 23A, Physics 5B or 6B, and Physics 101A or 102.
ASTR 117
High Energy Astrophysics
Upper Division
5 units
Theory and practice of space and ground-based x-ray and gamma-ray astronomical detectors. High-energy emission processes, neutron stars, black holes. Observations of x-ray binaries, pulsars, magnetars, clusters, gamma-ray bursts, the x-ray background. High-energy cosmic rays. Neutrino and gravitational-wave astronomy. Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 22 or 23A, Physics 5B or 6B, and Physics 101A or Physics 102.
ASTR 118
Physics of Planetary Systems
Upper Division
5 units
Determination of the physical properties of the solar system, its individual planets, and extrasolar planetary systems through ground-based and space-based observations, laboratory measurements, and theory. Theories of the origin and evolution of planets and planetary systems. Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 22 or 23A, and Physics 5B or 6B. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 119
Introduction to Scientific Computing
Upper Division
5 units
Introduction to solving scientific problems using computers. A series of simple problems from Earth sciences, physics, and astronomy are solved using a user-friendly scientific programming language (Python/SciPy). (Also offered as Earth Sciences 119. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): Mathematics 11A or 19A or 20A or Applied Mathematics or Statistics 15A.
ASTR 135
Astrophysics Advanced Laboratory
Upper Division
5 units
Introduction to the techniques of modern observational astrophysics at optical and radio wavelengths through hands-on experiments. Offered in some academic years as a multiple-term course: 135A in fall and 135B in winter, depending on astronomical conditions. (Also offered as Physics 135. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): Physics 133 and at least one astronomy course. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors majoring or minoring in astrophysics.
ASTR 135A
Astrophysics Advanced Laboratory
Upper Division
3 units
Introduction to techniques of modern observational astrophysics at optical and radio wavelengths through hands-on experiments. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors majoring or minoring in astrophysics. Offered in some academic years as single-term course 135 in fall, depending on astronomical conditions. (Also offered as Physics 135A. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): Physics 133 and at least one astronomy course.
ASTR 135B
Astrophysics Advanced Laboratory
Upper Division
2 units
Introduction to techniques of modern observational astrophysics at optical and radio wavelengths through hands-on experiments. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors majoring or minoring in astrophysics. Offered in some academic years as single-term course 135 in fall, depending on astronomical conditions. (Also offered as Physics 135B. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): course 135A and Physics 133.
ASTR 171
General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology
Upper Division
5 units
Special relativity is reviewed. Curved space-time, including the metric and geodesics, are illustrated with simple examples. The Einstein equations are solved for cases of high symmetry. Black-hole physics and cosmology are discussed, including recent developments. (Also offered as Physics 171. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Prerequisite(s): courses 105, 110A, 110B, and 116A-B.
ASTR 199
Tutorial
Upper Division
5 units
May be repeated for credit.
ASTR 202
Radiative Processes
Graduate
5 units
Survey of radiative processes of astrophysical importance from radio waves to gamma rays. The interaction of radiation with matter: radiative transfer, emission, and absorption. Thermal and non-thermal processes, including bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, and Compton scattering. Radiation in plasmas. (Formerly Electromagnetism and Plasma Physics.) Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 204
Astrophysical Flows
Graduate
5 units
Explores how physical conditions in astrophysical objects can be diagnosed from their spectra. Discussion topics include how energy flows determine the thermal state of radiating objects and how the physics of radiative transfer can explain the emergent spectral characteristics of stars, accretion disks, Lyman-alpha clouds, and microwave background. (Formerly 204A Physics of Astrophysics I and 204B Physics of Astrophysics II.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 205
Introduction to Astronomical Research and Teaching
Graduate
5 units
Lectures and seminar-style course intended to integrate new graduate students into the department; to introduce students to the research and interests of department faculty; and to expose graduate students to teaching skills and classroom techniques. (Formerly Introduction to Astronomical Research.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 207
Future Directions/Future Missions
Graduate
5 units
Examines possible key science goals for the next decade, such as planet detection, galaxy formation, and "dark energy" cosmology; the means for addressing these goals, such as new space missions and/or ground-based facilities; and the political, technical, and scientific constraints on such research. Looks at the role of the Decadel Survey. Examines a few existing programs (DEEP, ALMA, SNAP, NGST) as examples. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 212
Dynamical Astronomy
Graduate
5 units
Surveys dynamical processes in astrophysical systems on scales ranging from the planetary to the cosmological, stability and evolution of planetary orbits, scattering processes and the few-body problem, processes in stellar clusters, spiral structure and galactic dynamics, galactic collisions, and evolution of large-scale structure. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 214
Special Topics in Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy
Graduate
5 units
Survey of some principal areas of research on the origin and growth of cosmic structures and galaxies: the "dark ages;" 21cm tomography; first galaxies; first stars and seed black holes; reionization and chemical enrichment of the intergalactic medium; the assembly of massive galaxies; quasi-stellar sources; interactions of massive black holes with their environment; extragalactic background radiation; numerical simulations and the nature of the dark matter; the dark halo of the Milky Way. (Formerly Special Topics in Cosmology) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 220A
Stellar Structure and Evolution
Graduate
5 units
Survey of stellar structure and evolution. Physical properties of stellar material. Convective and radiative energy transport. Stellar models and evolutionary tracks through all phases. Brown dwarfs and giant planets. Comparison with observations. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 220B
Star Formation
Graduate
5 units
Theory and observations of star formation. Observational techniques used to study star formation, particularly millimeter line and continuum observations, and infrared, visible, and UV star-formation tracers. Physics of giant molecular clouds and galaxy-scale star formation. Gravitational instability, collapse, and fragmentation. Pre-main sequence stellar evolution. Protostellar accretion disks and jets. Radiative feedback and HII regions. (Formerly Star and Planet Formation) Prerequisite(s): course 220A.
ASTR 220C
Advanced Stages of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis
Graduate
5 units
The evolution of massive stars beyond helium burning; properties of white dwarf stars; physics and observations of novae, supernovae, and other high energy stellar phenomena; nuclear systematics and reaction rates; the origin and production of all the chemical elements. Prerequisite(s): course 220A. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 222
Planetary Formation and Evolution
Graduate
5 units
Theory and observations of protoplanetary disks. Origin and evolution of the solar nebula. Formation and evolution of the terrestrial planets and the giant planets. (Formerly Planetary Science) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 223
Planetary Physics
Graduate
5 units
Survey of interiors, atmospheres, thermal evolution, and magnetospheres of planets, with focus on the astronomical perspective. Course covers exoplanets and solar system planets, both giant and terrestrial, with attention to current and future observations. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 224
Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology
Graduate
5 units
Particle physics and cosmology of the very early universe: thermodynamics and thermal history; out-of-equilibrium phenomena (e.g., WIMPs freeze-out, neutrino cosmology, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, recombination); baryogenesis; inflation; topological defects. High-energy astrophysical processes: overview of cosmic ray and gamma ray astrophysics; radiative and inelastic processes; astroparticle acceleration mechanisms; magnetic fields and cosmic ray transport; radiation-energy density of the universe; ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays; dark-matter models; and detection techniques. (Formerly Origin and Evolution of the Universe.) (Also offered as Physics 224. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 225
High-Energy Astrophysics
Graduate
5 units
High-energy astrophysics and the final stages of stellar evolution: supernovae, binary stars, accretion disks, pulsars; extragalactic radio sources; active galactic nuclei; black holes. (Formerly Physics of Compact Objects) Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 226
General Relativity
Graduate
5 units
Develops the formalism of Einstein's general relativity, including solar system tests, gravitational waves, cosmology, and black holes. (Also offered as Physics 226. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 230
Diffuse Matter in Space
Graduate
5 units
Fundamental physical theory of gaseous nebulae and the interstellar medium. Ionization, thermal balance, theory and observation of emission spectra. Interstellar absorption lines, extinction by interstellar dust. Ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and radio spectra of gaseous nebulae. (Formerly Low-Density Astrophysics) Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 231
Diffuse Gas In and In Between Galaxies
Graduate
5 units
Examines the observational data and theoretical concepts related to the interstellar medium (gas inside galaxies); intracluster medium (gas in between galaxies in clusters); and intergalactic medium (gas in between field galaxies). Emphases on the inferred physical conditions of this gas and its implications for cosmology and processes of galaxy formation. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 233
Physical Cosmology
Graduate
5 units
Survey of modern physical cosmology, including Newtonian cosmology, curved space-times, observational tests of cosmology, the early universe, inflation, nucleosynthesis, dark matter, and the formation of structure in the universe. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 234
Statistical Techniques in Astronomy
Graduate
5 units
Introduces probability and statistics in data analysis with emphasis on astronomical applications. Topics include probability, Bayes' theorem, statistics, error analysis, correlation, hypothesis testing, parameter estimation, surveys, time-series analysis, surface distributions, and image processing. Students learn to identify the appropriate statistical technique to apply to an astronomical problem and develop a portfolio of analytic and computational techniques that they can apply to their own research. Enrollment is restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 235
Numerical Techniques
Graduate
5 units
Gives students a theoretical and practical grounding in the use of numerical methods and simulations for solving astrophysical problems. Topics include N-body, SPH and grid-based hydro methods as well as stellar evolution and radiation transport techniques. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 237
Accretion Processes
Graduate
5 units
Theories of spherical accretion, structure and stability of steady-state accretion disks, and the evolution of time-dependent accretion disks. Applications of these theories to the formation of the solar system as well as the structure and evolution of dwarf novae and X-ray sources are emphasized. (Formerly Accretion in Early and Late Stages of Stellar Evolution) Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 240A
Galactic and Extragalactic Stellar Systems
Graduate
5 units
Structure and evolutionary histories of nearby galaxies. Stellar populations, galactic dynamics, dark matter, galactic structure and mass distributions. Peculiar galaxies and starbursting galaxies. Structure and content of the Milky Way. Evolution of density perturbations in the early universe. Hierarchical clustering model for galaxy formation and evolution. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 240B
High Redshift Galaxies
Graduate
5 units
Galaxy formation and evolution from observations of intermediate-to-high redshift galaxies (z 0.5-5). Complements and builds on 240A. Cluster galaxies and field galaxies. Foundation from classic papers on distant galaxies. Recent discoveries from IR and sub-mm measurements. Impact of AGNs and QSOs. Overview of modeling approaches. Identify theoretical and observational issues. (Formerly Galactic and Extragalactic Stellar Systems) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 257
Modern Astronomical Techniques
Graduate
5 units
Covers physical, mathematical, and practical methods of modern astronomical observations at all wavelengths at a level that prepares students to comprehend published data and to plan their own observations. Topics include: noise sources and astrophysical backgrounds; coordinate systems; filter systems; the physical basis of coherent and incoherent photon detectors; astronomical optics and aberrations; design and use of imaging and spectroscopic instruments; antenna theory; aperture synthesis and image reconstruction techniques; and further topics at the discretion of the instructor. Familiarity with UNIX, computer programming, and completion of Physics 116C is strongly recommended as well as at least one upper-division course in astronomy. Designed for graduate students; available to qualified undergraduate astrophysics majors by instructor permission. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 260
Instrumentation for Astronomy
Graduate
5 units
An introduction to astronomical instrumentation for infrared and visible wavelengths. Topics include instrument requirements imposed by dust, atmosphere, and telescope; optical, mechanical, and structural design principles and components; electronic and software instrument control. Imaging cameras and spectrographs are described. Offered in alternate academic years. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.
ASTR 289
Adaptive Optics and Its Application
Graduate
5 units
Introduction to adaptive optics and its astronomical applications. Topics include effects of atmospheric turbulence on astronomical images, basic principles of feedback control, wavefront sensors and correctors, laser guide stars, how to analyze and optimize performance of adaptive optics systems, and techniques for utilizing current and future systems for astronomical observations. (Formerly course 289C.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Offered in alternate academic years.
ASTR 292
Seminar
Graduate
0 units
Seminar attended by faculty, graduate students, and upper-division undergraduate students.