Astronomy Course Descriptions
The following Astronomy (ASTR) course descriptions have been copied from the 2017-18 WKU Undergraduate Catalog.
- Non-Science Majors
- Science / Math Majors and Minors
- Education Majors and Minors
- Departmental Majors and Minors
ASTR 104. ASTRONOMY OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. (3)
An introductory study of that portion of the physical universe extending beyond the earth from the sun to the outer limits of the solar system, including its relationship to the rest of the universe and to the earth. Topics include phenomena visible from earth, the earth’s motions and timekeeping, eclipses, motions of planets and satellites, and the historical development of scientific understanding of the solar system. Comparison of physical properties among the sun, planets, and satellites interrelate the earth and its life forms with the extraterrestrial environment that supported the development and continuation of life on earth. This course contains an integral laboratory that includes planetarium exercises and evening observing sessions using telescopes. Colonnade E-NS (SL) | NS | SL
ASTR 106. ASTRONOMY OF STELLAR SYSTEMS. (3)
An introductory study of that portion of the physical universe in the space beyond the bounds of the solar system. Topics include the physical properties of stars and stellar systems, stellar formation and evolution, supernovas, pulsars, galaxies, quasars, black-holes, and cosmology — scientific theories of the origin, evolution, and fate of the universe on the grandest scale. Emphasis is given to the significance of these topics to the development and fate of the earth and its star. This course contains an integrated laboratory that includes planetarium exercises and evening observing sessions using telescopes. Colonnade E-NS (SL) | NS | SL
ASTR 108. DESCRIPTIVE ASTRONOMY. (3)
Introductory survey of our universe; from observations of the sun, moon and stars in the sky to our understanding of planets, stars, galaxies and the overall characteristics of the cosmos. Colonnade E-NS | NS
ASTR 275. ASTRONOMY RESEARCH METHODS. (3)
Prerequisite: MATH 117 or equivalent; and permission of instructor. Intensive project-based course to introduce students to the fundamentals of astronomy using scientific research investigations as examples. Includes familiarization with astronomical instrumentation for imaging and spectroscopy of celestial objects, digital image reduction and analysis, and interpretation of results. Additional topics include the process and nature of scientific research and professional ethics. This course does not count toward a major or minor in physics or astronomy.
SCIENCE / MATH MAJORS AND MINORS
ASTR 214. GENERAL ASTRONOMY. (4)
Corequisite: MATH 136. An introduction to astronomy for science majors. Topics include distances, masses, and luminosities of stars, stellar atmospheres and structure, stellar evolution, star systems, interstellar matter, galaxies, cosmology, the sun, and the solar system. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.
EDUCATION MAJORS AND MINORS
ASTR 405. ASTRONOMY FOR TEACHERS. (3)
Prerequisite: ASTR 104 or ASTR 106 or ASTR 214. Selected topics in astronomy for elementary and secondary teachers. Does not count toward physics major credit.
DEPARTMENTAL MAJORS AND MINORS
ASTR 298. RESEARCH EXPERIENCES. (1-3)
Prerequisite: MATH 117 or equivalent, and ASTR 106 or ASTR 214 or ASTR 275; and permission of instructor. Individual or group research project carried out under direct faculty supervision. An oral presentation or paper, reviewed by a faculty committee, is required. Course may be repeated for a maximum total of 3 credit hours.
ASTR 305. INTRODUCTION TO ASTROBIOLOGY. (3)
Prerequisites: MATH 116, and ASTR 106 or BIOL 120 or CHEM 120 or GEOL 111. Interdisciplinary study of life on Earth and possible life beyond Earth. Topics include the environments suitable for life, evolution of life forms, and the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Integrates concepts and methods from astronomy, biology, chemistry and geology.
ASTR 314. OBSERVATIONAL ASTRONOMY. (4)
Prerequisite: ASTR 214. A study of the techniques of observational astronomy. Topics include imaging techniques, spherical astronomy, magnitude systems, telescope optics, data acquisition, and statistical analysis of astronomical data. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.
ASTR 414. ASTROPHYSICS. (4)
Prerequisites: PHYS 321 and MATH 237. Corequisite: MATH 331. Introduction to current astrophysical topics, including radiation theory, the interstellar medium, stellar evolution, galaxies, quasars and cosmology.