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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Course Descriptions

Page address: http://cset.mnsu.edu/pa/ugrad/ast-descriptions.html

Undergraduate Astronomy Courses

An asterisk (*) preceding the course title denotes a course also offered at the 500 level.

Semester offered: F=Fall, S=Spring, V=Variable, ALT=Alternate years

Text only version: Current Bulletin (39KB PDF).


101(3) Introduction to Astronomy
Broad survey of astronomy: the night sky, seasons, moon phases, eclipses, light, telescopes, stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, cosmology, the solar system.
General Education Category 3 (Natural Science).
F, S

102(3) Introduction to the Planets
Survey of our solar system: the sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids; history of the discovery and exploration of the solar system.
General Education Category 3 (Natural Science).
F, S

104(2) Introduction to Experimental Astronomy
Experiments in astronomy; astronomical observations; measurement, interpretation, and analysis of various types of astronomical data.
General Education Category 3 (Natural Science).
Pre or Co: AST 101 or 102
V

115(2) Life in the Universe
The probability of extraterrestrial intelligent life; the chemical basis of life; planetary environments; stellar habitable zones; the Drake equation; UFOs; space travel; interstellar communication; limits on technical civilizations.
General Education Categories 2 (Critical Thinking) and 3 (Natural Science).
F, S

125(3) Observational Astronomy
Techniques for observing with naked eye, binoculars and small telescopes; constellation and star identification; use of star atlases and handbooks; observations of stars, binaries, clusters, nebulae, etc. Evening observing sessions required.
Pre: AST 101 or consent
F

201(2) Spherical Astronomy
The celestial sphere; coordinate systems; sidereal and solar time; diurnal motion; precession; proper motion; refraction; aberration; parallax. Requires a background in trigonometry.
S

215(4) Astronomy and Astrophysics I
Celestial mechanics; gravitational and tidal forces; stellar motions and parallax; radiation and matter; magnitudes and stellar spectra; binary stars and stellar masses; stellar structure and evolution.
Pre: MATH 121 and PHYS 221
F

225(4) Astronomy and Astrophysics II
Stellar endpoints; close binary systems; variable stars; the Milky Way; normal galaxies; galactic evolution; active galaxies and quasars; cosmology.
Pre: AST 215, MATH 122, and PHYS 222
S

294(1-6) Workshop
A short course devoted to a specific astronomical topic. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.
V

351(1) Telescope Operations
Operating the 0.5-meter telescope; pointing and guiding; preparation of observing lists and finder charts; operation of the telescope's ancillary equipment.
Pre: AST 201 and 215, Consent
S

353(2) Photometry I
Photometric systems; observational techniques of point-source photometry; methods of data reduction; interpretation of data.
Pre: AST 215
ALT-F

354(2) Photometry II
Observations of extended sources; photometric calibration of extended sources; use of secondary standard stars.
Pre: AST 353
ALT-S

355(2) Astrometry
Reduction of digital images to determine positions, proper motions, and parallaxes of stars; analysis of errors.
Pre: AST 201 and 215
ALT-S

357(2) Spectroscopy
Line identification; radial velocity determinations; spectral classifications.
Pre: AST 225
ALT-F

420(3) *Stellar Astrophysics
Blackbody radiation; radiative transfer; atomic structure; spectroscopic notation; excitation; ionization; absorption and emission coefficients; line profiles; analysis of stellar spectra.
Pre: AST 225 and PHYS 223
ALT-F

421(3) *Stellar Structure
The gaseous state; degenerate matter; equations of stellar structure; polytropes; models of stellar interiors and atmospheres; stellar evolution; nucleosynthesis; stellar endpoints.
Pre: AST 420
ALT-S

430(3) *Galactic Structure
Structure, kinematics and dynamics of our galaxy.
Pre: AST 225, PHYS 222, and MATH 223
ALT-F

431(3) *Extragalactic Astronomy
Normal galaxies; groups and clusters of galaxies; galaxy interactions and mergers; active galactic nuclei; large-scale structure; galaxy formation and evolution; cosmology.
Pre: AST 430
ALT-S

488(1-4) Seminar
May be repeated for credit on each new topic.
Pre: Consent
V

491(1-6) *In-Service
A course designed to upgrade the qualifications of persons on-the-job.
Pre: Consent
V

493(1-6) Undergraduate Research
Students will conduct supervised research in astronomy.
Pre: Consent
V

494(1-6) *Workshop
A short course devoted to a specific astronomical topic. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.
V

495(1-4) *Selected Topics
A course in a particular area of astronomy not regularly offered. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.
Pre: Consent
V

497(1-16) Internship
Provides a student the opportunity to gain expertise and experience in a special field under the supervision of a qualified
person.
Pre: Consent
V

499(1-8) Individual Study
Individual study under the guidance of an astronomy faculty member.
Pre: Consent
F, S