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Astronomy Courses

Click here for Spring 2018 Astronomy course offerings. Below is more information on the content of all astronomy courses, some of which may not be offered every year. Links are provided for syllabi or course websites for recently offered courses. Course outlines are given for most courses and are a general description of the material covered in the course and how the course is organized. For a complete course description refer to the course catalog portion of the General Announcements or click here.


ASTR 100: Exploring the Cosmos (Seminar)

Introduction to concepts and methods important in astronomy and astrophysics. The theme may vary from semester to semester. For Fall 2014, the course theme is: "Astrobiology: Life and Intelligence in the Universe."

Spring 2016 Syllabus  

ASTR 201: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

An introductory course for students in academic programs. The formation, evolution, and death of stars; the composition and evolution of galaxies; the structure and evolution of the universe.

Fall 2017 Syllabus  

ASTR 201 Course Outline

ASTR 202: Exploration of the Solar System

The physical processes governing the nature and behavior of the various Solar System bodies are discussed with a focus on the origins, evolution and fate of the Solar System and its parts.

Fall 2017 Syllabus

ASTR 202 Course Outline

ASTR 221: Observing the Night Sky

Use of small telescopes and binoculars to study constellations, bright stars, planets and the sun at the campus observatory and at dark-sky sites.

ASTR 221 Course Outline

ASTR 230: Astronomy Laboratory

A hands-on introduction to modern techniques of observational astronomy. Students use telescopes, CCDs, and computers to obtain and analyze their own images of solar system, galactic, and extragalactic objects.

Spring 2016 Syllabus

ASTR 230 Course Outline

ASTR 243: Exploring the Sun-Earth Connection

An introduction to astrophysical processes with a focus on the Sun-Earth interaction. Topics include the solar wind, sun spots, flares, and the Earth's diverse responses: magnetospheric storms, atmospheric expansion, and climate effects.

ASTR 243 Course Outline

ASTR 350: Introduction to Astrophysics-Stars

An introduction to celestial mechanics, radiative transfer, stellar structure, and stellar remnants (including black holes and neutron stars). Aspects of planetary science and solar system formation may also be explored.

Fall 2016 Syllabus  

Fall 2016 Course Website  

ASTR 360: Introductions to Astrophysics-Galaxies and Cosmology

Morphology, kinematics, and dynamics of the Milky Way and external galaxies, including interstellar matter and evidence for dark matter.

Spring 2016 Syllabus

Spring 2014 Course Website

ASTR 360 Course Outline

ASTR 400/500: Undergraduate/Graduate Research Seminar

Seminar on current research topics in astronomy, astrophysics, and space physics for Juniors, Seniors, and Graduate Students.

Fall 2017 Course Website and Talk Schedule

ASTR 403/EDUC 589/PFDV 589: Astronomy for Teachers

Learn how to teach astronomy concepts as specified by the state of Texas. Methods to help students master content, including lab activities suitable for K-9 classrooms and as field trips.

Fall 2012 Course Website

ASTR 450: Experimental Space Science

Study of instruments and methods used in space physics and astronomy.

ASTR 450 Course Outline

ASTR 451: Astrophysics I: Sun and Stars

Physics of stellar interiors and atmospheres; solar phenomena. Concepts of stellar evolution.

Fall 2017 Syllabus  

ASTR 452: Astrophysics II: Galaxies and Cosmology

The physics of interstellar matter; structure of the Milky Way and other normal galaxies; physical cosmology and high-red shift phenomena.

Spring 2016 Syllabus

Spring 2014 Course Website

ASTR 452/552 Course Outline

ASTR 470/570: Solar System Physics

The Sun, solar-terrestrial relationships, solar wind; planetary atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres.

Fall 2017 Syllabus

ASTR 502/PFDV 588: Teaching Earth and Space Science

Overview of the Earth and the solar system, their structure, evolution, and dynamics. Fundamentals of Earth and Space Science topics as taught in 6th grade. This course is designed for science and math teachers (grades 6-12).

Fall 2017 Syllabus

ASTR 503: Astronomy for Teachers

Overview of stars, galaxies, and the Universe at a non-calculus level. Includes basics about the Sun. Learn how to teach astronomy concepts as specified by the state of Texas. This course is designed for inservice and preservice science and math teachers (grades 6-12), but open to undergraduates considering a teaching profession.

Fall 2014 Syllabus  

ASTR 530: Teaching Astronomy Laboratory

Methods and facilities of observational astronomy for public education. Students will help train beginners in the use of telescopes and carry out a modest observational program.

Spring 2014 Syllabus

Spring 2016 Course Website

ASTR 542: Nebular Astrophysics

The physics of emission nebulae, including radiative transfer, photoionization and thermal equilibria, and internal gaseous dynamics. Physical processes in the interstellar medium.

Fall 2013 Course Website

ASTR 542 Course Outline

ASTR 554: Astrophysics of the Sun

Analysis of physical processes at work in the Sun, such as helio seismology, solar variability, solar activity, magnetic reconnection, heliosphere interactions and modern observational techniques.

  Spring 2016 Syllabus  

  ASTR 554 Course Outline

ASTR 555: Protostars and Planets

Physics of star and planet information, including molecular cloud dynamics and chemistry, circumstellar accretion disks, jets, dust,debris disks, atmospheres rotation, and magnetic fields of young stars, binaries, brown dwarfs, comets, Kuiper belt objects, giant planet formation and discoveries of extra solar planets.

ASTR 555 Course Outline

ASTR 565: Compact Objects

Selected topics involving white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes and their environments, e.g., pulsars, supernova remnants, and accretion disks.

Fall 2017 Syllabus

Spring 2017 Course Website

ASTR 565 Course Outline

ASTR 600: Advanced Topics in Astrophysics

Lecture/seminars which treat topics of departmental interest. Not offered every year.