Graduate Courses

The Tarantula Nebula

AST 5012: The Interstellar Medium

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisites: AST 2001, PHYS 2601 or instructor consent

Survey of physical processes in the interstellar medium. Dynamic processes, excitation processes, emission and absorption by gas and dust. Hot bubbles, HII regions, molecular clouds.


AST 5022: Relativity, Cosmology, and the Universe

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisites: AST 2001, PHYS 2601 or instructor consent

Large-scale structure/history of universe. Introduction to Newtonian/relativistic world models. Physics of early universe, cosmological tests, formation of galaxies.


AST 5031: Interpretation and Analysis of Astrophysical Data

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: graduate student in physics or astronomy

Introduction to analysis techniques with applications to modern astrophysics. Methods to interpret/analyze large data sets from experiments. Principles/methods of analysis, with applications to current research.


AST 5201: Methods of Experimental Astrophysics

4 credits — Lab and lecture

Prerequisite: upper division CSE, graduate student, or instructor consent

Contemporary astronomical techniques and instrumentation. Emphasizes data reduction and analysis, including image processing. Students make astronomical observations at O’Brien Observatory and use department’s computing facilities for data analysis. Image processing packages include IRAF, AIPS, IDL, MIRA.


AST 5731: Methods of Bayesian Astrostatistics

4 credits — Lab and lecture

Prerequisite: multivariable calculus and linear algebra, or instructor consent. Suggested: statistical methods at the level of AST 4031, AST 5031, STAT 3021, or STAT 5021; or familiarity with astrophysics topics such as star formation and evolution, galaxies and clusters, composition and expansion of the universe, gravitational wave sources and waveforms, and high-energy astrophysics.

This course will introduce Bayesian methods for interpreting and analyzing large data sets from astrophysical experiments. These methods will be demonstrated using astrophysics real-world data sets, and a focus on modern statistical softwares such as R and python. The course will assume familiarity with basic concepts in astrophysics, but it will include brief reviews as needed to demonstrate the use of modern data analysis techniques.

AST 8001: Radiative Processes in Astrophysics

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Introduction to classical/quantum physics of electromagnetic radiation as it applies to astro-physics. Emphasizes radiative processes (e.g., emission, absorption, scattering) in astrophysical contexts (e.g., ordinary stars, ISM, neutron stars, active galaxies).


AST 8011: High Energy Astrophysics

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Energetic phenomena in the universe. Radiative processes in high energy regimes; supernovae, pulsars, and X-ray binaries; radio galaxies, quasars, and active galactic nuclei.


AST 8021: Stellar Astrophysics

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Stellar structure, evolution, and star formation. Emphasizes contemporary research.


AST 8031: Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Introduction to physics of ideal/non-ideal fluids with application to problems of astrophysical interest. Steady/unsteady flows, instabilities, turbulence. Conducting fluid flows. Magnetohydrodynamics.


AST 8041: Comparative Planetology

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Overview of current knowledge of the solar system. Formation history of protostellar nebula, physical properties of major planetary bodies/moons. Sun and fossils of epoch of planetary system formation: comets, asteroids, minor bodies.


AST 8051: Galactic Astronomy

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Content, structure, evolution, and dynamics of Milky Way Galaxy. Emphasizes recent observations from space-/ground-based telescopes.


AST 8061: Radio Astronomy

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Techniques/applications of radio astronomy. Basics of signal-to-noise ratios. Sensitivities/applications of Fourier transform and power spectra. Aperture synthesis, single dish applications. Observing of continuum emission and spectral line emission/absorption, astrophysical examples.


AST 8071: Infrared Astronomy

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Techniques/applications of infrared astronomy. Basics of signal-to-noise ratios/sensitivities, challenges of developing infrared instrumentation. Observations of continuum emission (blackbody, free-free, synchrotron). Spectral line emission/absorption, infrared polarization. Astrophysical examples.


AST 8081: Cosmology

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Role of gravity in cosmology. Background, recent research advances.


AST 8110: Topics in Astrophysics

4 credits — Lecture

Courses covering various topics in astrophysics. Past topics have included gravitational lensing and supernovae.


AST 8120: Topics in Astrophysics

2–4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Courses covering various topics in astrophysics. Past topics have included gravitational lensing and supernovae.


AST 8200: Astrophysics Seminar

1–3 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: instructor consent


AST 8581: Big Data in Astrophysics

4 credits — Lecture

Prerequisite: multivariable calculus and linear algebra, or instructor consent. Suggested: familiarity with astrophysics topics such as star formation and evolution, galaxies and clusters, composition and expansion of the universe, gravitational wave sources and waveforms, and high-energy astrophysics.

This course will introduce key concepts and techniques used to work with large datasets, in the context of the field of astrophysics. The course will assume familiarity with basic concepts in astrophysics, but it will include brief reviews as needed to demonstrate the use of modern data analysis techniques.

AST 8333: FTE: Master’s

1 credits — No Grade Associated

Prerequisites: master’s student, consent from adviser and Director of Graduate Studies


AST 8444: FTE: Doctoral

1 credits — No Grade Associated

Prerequisites: doctoral student, consent from adviser and Director of Graduate Studies


AST 8666: Doctoral Pre-Thesis Credits

1–6 credits — No Grade Associated

Prerequisites: doctoral student who has not passed oral preliminary exam; no required consent for first and second registrations, up to 12 combined credits; Department consent for third and fourth registrations, up to 24 combined credits; doctoral student admitted before Summer 2007 may register up to four times, up to 60 combined credits

TODO: Need to ask about the prerequisite on this one


AST 8777: Thesis Credits: Master’s

1–18 credits — No Grade Associated

Prerequisites: maximum 18 credits per semester or summer, 10 credits total required [Plan A only]


AST 8888: Thesis Credit: Doctoral

1–24 credits — No Grade Associated

Prerequisites: doctoral student who has passed preliminary oral exam; maximum 18 credits per semester or summer, 24 credits required


AST 8990: Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics

1–4 credits — Independent Study

Prerequisite: instructor consent

Research under supervision of a graduate faculty member.