Astronomy 422

ASTR 422: Galactic Astronomy and Cosmology

Prerequisite: ASTR 112, PHYS 112 or 222, MATH 152

Credit Hours: (3)

Application of astronomical concepts and techniques to the structure and evolution of galaxies and other large-scale structures; cosmology including the origin and evolution of our universe.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course studies the origin, evolution, and current state both of large structures such as galaxies, quasars and nebulae, as well as that of our entire universe. The specific topics to be covered include:

  • neutron stars and black holes
  • gamma rays and cosmic rays and their sources
  • galactic formation
  • galactic dynamics and gravitation
  • active galactic nuclei and quasars
  • nebulae and stellar formation
  • large-scale structures and galactic clustering
  • the cosmic microwave background radiation
  • early universe cosmology and the evolution of our universe

The latest data and images related to these topics will be analyzed by students.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will employ both descriptive methods and quantitative analysis of images and data from NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute and other space-related agencies. Numerous applications of Newton’s Law of Gravitation as well as Kepler’s Third Law of Orbital Mechanics will be studied. The basic principles of astronomy will be applied to large structures within the universe and the universe as a whole. The course has no formal laboratory associated with it, but a few laboratory activities—including both observational and computer-based labs—will be assigned for classwork and for homework.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The student learning goals for the course are:

  • All students will experience an interdisciplinary approach to the latest discoveries and interpretations in the fields of galactic astronomy and cosmology.
  • Students will learn how astronomical concepts and methods are applied to the solution of problems relating to the evolution of the universe and the large-scale structures contained within the universe.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of how large-scale structures evolve and knowledge about the processes that determine their current status.
  • Students will learn how data obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories contribute to our understanding of the universe as a whole and the structures contained within the universe.


Assessment Measures

Assessment of student achievement is accomplished by traditional tests, occasional short quizzes, and the final examination. Other evaluation methods may include laboratory-based reports, reading reports, and oral presentations. In addition, telescopic observational projects may be assigned and graded. Numerous sources of information on the planetary sciences are given in the course bibliography as well as throughout the course.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

September 2001 Review Walter S. Jaronski, Chair