Courses (2018-19)

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Introduction to Modern Research

3 units (2-0-1)  |  second term
Weekly seminar open to declared Ay majors. At the discretion of the instructor, nonmajors who have taken astronomy courses may be admitted. Course is intended for sophomores and juniors. This seminar is held in faculty homes in the evening and is designed to encourage student communication skills as they are introduced to faculty members and their research. Each week a student will review a popular-level article in astronomy for the class. Graded pass/fail.
Instructor: Howard

Optical Astronomy Instrumentation Lab

10 units (1-5-4)  |  third term
Prerequisites: Ay 20.
An opportunity for astronomy and physics undergraduates (juniors and seniors) to gain firsthand experience with the basic instrumentation tools of modern optical and infrared astronomy. The 10 weekly lab experiments include radiometry measurements, geometrical optics, polarization, optical aberrations, spectroscopy, CCD characterization, vacuum and cryogenic technology, infrared detector technology, adaptive optics (wavefront sensors, deformable mirrors, closed loop control) and a coronography tuturial.
Instructor: Mawet

Introduction to Current Astrophysics Research

3 units  |  first term
This course is intended primarily for first-year Ay graduate students, although participation is open and encouraged. Students are required to attend seminar-style lectures given by astrophysics faculty members, describing their research, to attend the weekly astronomy colloquia, and to follow these with additional readings on the subject. At the end of each term, students are required to summarize in oral or written form (at the discretion of the instructor), one of the covered subjects that is of most interest to them.
Instructor: Hallinan

Astronomical Measurements and Instrumentation

9 units (3-0-6)  |  first term (a), second term (b)
Prerequisites: Ph 106 bc or equivalent..
Measurement and signal analysis techniques througout the electromagnetic spectrum. Courses may include lab work and field trips to Caltech observatories. Ay 122a concentrates on infrared, optical, and ultraviolet techniques: telescopes, optics, detectors, photometry, spectroscopy, active/adaptive optics, coronography. Imaging devices and image processing. Ay 122b concentrates on radio through submillimeter techniques: antennae, receivers, mixers, and amplifiers. Interferometers and aperture synthesis arrays. Signal analysis techniques and probability and statistics, as relevant to astronomical measurement. Ay 122c (not offered 2018-19) concentrates on X-ray through gamma-ray techniques.
Instructors: (a) Howard, Mawet, (b) Hallinan

Structure and Evolution of Stars

9 units (3-0-6)  |  first term
Prerequisites: Ay 101; Ph 125 or equivalent (undergraduates).
Thermodynamics, equation of state, convection, opacity, radiative transfer, stellar atmospheres, nuclear reactions, and stellar models. Evolution of low- and high-mass stars, supernovae, and binary stars.
Instructor: Fuller

Research Conference in Astronomy

3 units (1-0-2)  |  first, second, third terms
Oral reports on current research in astronomy, providing students an opportunity for practice in the organization and presentation of technical material. A minimum of two presentations will be expected from each student each year. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in a public-level representation of the same material for posting to an outreach website. This course fulfills the option communication requirement and is required of all astronomy graduate students who have passed their preliminary exams. It is also recommended for astronomy seniors. Graded pass/fail.
Instructor: (a) Kasliwal/Fuller (b) Kasliwal/Hallinan

Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Units in accordance with work accomplished  | 
The student should consult a member of the department and have a definite program of research outlined. Approval by the student's adviser must be obtained before registering. 36 units of Ay 142 or Ay 143 required for candidacy for graduate students. Graded pass/fail.

Special Topics in the Planetary Sciences

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Topic for 2018-19 is Extrasolar Planets. Thousands of planets have been identified in orbit around other stars. Astronomers are now embarking on understanding the statistics of extrasolar planet populations and characterizing individual systems in detail, namely star-planet, planet-planet and planet-disk dynamical interactions, physical parameters of planets and their composition, weather phenomena, etc. Direct and indirect detection techniques are now completing the big picture of extra-solar planetary systems in all of their natural diversity. The seminar-style course will review the state of the art in exoplanet science, take up case studies, detail current and future instrument needs, and anticipate findings.
Instructors: Howard, Mawet