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IntroductionAstronomy has played an important role in history. Its ideas pervade our inherited literature. An accurate knowledge of the skies made successful trade and commerce possible. In our day, the study of Astronomy with advanced and sophisticated instrumentation has opened up new dimensions in our comprehension of natural phenomena. We see perhaps to the edge of the universe, and find one that is not immutable, but changing and evolving in a manner unpredicted before our modern era. The astronomer of today must deal with physical realities of gravitational lenses, hyper-energetic quasars, mysterious gamma-ray bursters, gyrating pulsars, and black holes, and even with the possible existence of life like ours in other parts of our universe.
Several courses are offered to suit persons of diverse backgrounds and depths of interest. Three beginning courses (AST 101H, 201H, 210H) require no special skill or knowledge of Mathematics or other sciences. They develop our understanding of the universe in a qualitative way and in terms of natural laws familiar to us on Earth. The other courses are designed for students of increasing scientific sophistication
In some of these courses, the objective is to provide for personal involvement by the student. This is achieved by the use of telescopes on the St. George Campus roof-top observatory by day as well as by night. A visit to the David Dunlap Observatory may also be arranged. Motion pictures, slides, and lecture demonstrations are used extensively.
Undergraduate Secretary: Dr. C.M. Clement (978-2204)
Enquiries: McLennan Physical Laboratories, Room 1403 (978-2016)
Enrolment in the Astronomy programs requires completion of four courses; no minimum GPA is required.
Major program Major program: M22041 (8 full courses or their equivalent)
Minor program Minor program: must be taken with corequisite Mathematics Minor program)
ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS (B.Sc.)Consult Departments of Astronomy and Physics.
Specialist program (Hon.B.Sc): S02711 (14 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
Third Year: APM 346H; AST 320H, 325H; MAT 334H; PHY 225H, 252H, 351H, 355H
Fourth Year: AST 420H, 425H; PHY 352H, 353H, 357H/358H, 457H, 459H/460H
NOTE: Students graduating after three years may be certified in the Major Program in Astronomy.Section 4 for Key to Course Descriptions)
For Distribution Requirement purposes, all AST courses are classified as SCIENCE courses .
Undergraduate seminar that focuses on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular Faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first year students. It may serve as a breadth requirement course; see First Year Seminars: 199Y.
How simple naked-eye observations can lead to a basic understanding of many solar system phenomena. Planets and comets: their motions and properties. Finding out about the sun and nearby stars.
This course is intended for students with no science or engineering background.
The origin of the Universe, the origin of the chemical elements, the origin of stars and galaxies, the origin of life in the Universe. This course is intended for students who are enrolling in science courses.
How astronomers develop methods for determining the properties of remote stars and galaxies, including their life histories. Methods used to study the Universe as a whole. This course is intended for students with no science or engineering background.
The history of Western astronomy: Copernican Revolution to twentieth century astrophysics. Emphasis is placed on the process of discovery which has led to major advances in knowledge about the Universe. The course ends with an outline of one of the most significant puzzles of our day and an examination of the potential for a new revolution in knowledge in our lifetime.
Telescopes and instrumentation, concepts in basic physics applied to a treatment of the solar system and stars.
Concepts of basic physics applied to a treatment of stellar systems and the structure of the Universe.
Scholarly discussion of the probability that there are planets with life elsewhere in the universe, from the perspective of current ideas concerning the origin and evolution of the universe, the solar system and life, search attempts and techniques, UFO's, space colonies and other fantasies.
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. See Research Opportunity Programfor details.
The formation, equilibrium and evolution of structure on all astronomical scales from the largest to the smallest: universe, clusters of galaxies, galaxies, clusters of stars, gas clouds and stars.
Projects involving experimental work with telescopes and data reduction with computers. Astronomical coordinate systems and time. Students are expected to write simple computer programs for some of the assignments.
Discussion of topics of current interest in astrophysics. Possible topics include accretion disk physics, compact object physics, spiral structure in galaxies, dark matter physics, black-body physics.
A research report by the student in consultation with an individual staff member in the Department. This course is intended for students in the final year of the Astronomy and Physics specialist program. Students must enrol with the Undergraduate Secretary of the Department.
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