For Undergraduates and Graduates

*Astronomy 135. Planetary System Astronomy
Catalog Number: 4850
Robert W. Noyes and Matthew Holman
Half course (spring term). M., W., F., at 11. EXAM GROUP: 4
Uses our solar system as an example to understand the origin and evolution of planetary systems in general. Emphasis on how physical patterns inherent in our solar system provide clues to the conditions and mechanisms that give rise to the formation of planets orbiting the Sun or similar stars, and govern their evolution. Topics include the formation and evolution of the Sun; origin, structure, and evolution of solar system planets; planetary satellites; small bodies of the solar system (comets, asteroids, and meteorites); and solar magnetic activity and its influence on the Earth and planets. Also included will be discussion of planets orbiting other stars, what they tell us about how planetary systems (including our own) form and evolve, and the possibilities of habitable environments in other planetary systems.
Prerequisite: Physics 15a, b, c, or Physics 11a, b and permission of the instructor.

Astronomy 145. Topics in Astrophysics
Catalog Number: 0212
Abraham Loeb
Half course (fall term). M., W., 9:30–11. EXAM GROUP: 3
Discussion of a wide range of astrophysical systems, their physical processes, and observed characteristics. Topics include the Big Bang, the microwave background, the formation of structure in the universe, galaxy formation and evolution, star formation, energy generation in stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.
Prerequisite: Physics 143a (may be taken concurrently).

Astronomy 150 (formerly Astronomy 205). Radiative Processes in Astrophysics
Catalog Number: 8993
Patrick Thaddeus
Half course (spring term). M., W., 1–2:30. EXAM GROUP: 6
Survey of radiative processes of astrophysical importance from radio waves to gamma rays. Thermal and non-thermal processes, including bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, and Compton scattering. Radiation in plasmas. Atomic and molecular structure and spectra. Introduction to fluid dynamics and shocks.
Prerequisite: Physics 143a (may be taken concurrently).

Astronomy 191. Astrophysics Laboratory
Catalog Number: 3615 Enrollment: Limited to 16
Patrick Thaddeus and Jonathan E. Grindlay
Half course (spring term). F., at 2. EXAM GROUP: 7
Laboratory and observational projects in astrophysics. Carried out using research facilities at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, students choose two projects from a larger group that may include measurement of the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation; laboratory spectroscopy of jet-cooled, gas phase molecules; observations of dense, star-forming interstellar clouds, either with the Haystack Observatory or the Very Large Array; measurement of the rotation of the Galaxy with the CFA millimeter-wave telescope; development of superconducting submillimeter detectors; spectroscopic observations of binary stars at Oak Ridge Observatory; photometry and spectroscopy of star clusters with the Knowles telescope at the Science Center; principles of soft x-ray detectors and imaging, construction, and evaluation of hard x-ray imaging detectors and telescope systems.
Note: Intended primarily for concentrators in Astronomy and Astrophysics or combined concentrators with Physics. Students with Physics as their primary concentration, but with a serious interest in astrophysics, may take this to satisfy their laboratory requirement (in lieu of Physics 191) upon petition to the Head Tutor in Physics.
Prerequisite: Physics 15c or equivalent.

[Astronomy 192. Astronomical Measurements]
Catalog Number: 4741
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Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
The measurement of radiation from astronomical sources at all wavelengths and frequencies. The physics of detectors for cosmic rays, x-rays, optical, infrared, radio, and gravitational radiation. Signal-to-noise and noise sources in astronomical detectors including the concept of detective quantum efficiency. Telescopes and basic instrumentation and techniques for absolute flux measurements, imaging spectroscopy, polarimetry, measurement of magnetic fields and interferometry. Astronomical statistics including parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, nonparametric techniques, and statistical biases in real data sets.
Note: Expected to be given in 2001–02.
Prerequisite: Physics 15a,b,c and Applied Mathematics 105 (or equivalents).

Astronomy 193. Noise and Data Analysis to Astrophysics
Catalog Number: 4495
James M. Moran
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., 2–3:30. EXAM GROUP: 16, 17
How to design experiments and get the most information from noisy, incomplete, flawed, and biased data sets. Basics of probability theory; Bernouli trials; Bayes theorem; random variables; distributions; functions of random variables; moments and characteristic functions; Fourier transform analysis; Stochastic processes; estimation of power spectra. Digital data processing: sampling theorem, filtering; fast Fourier tranform; spectrum of quantized data sets. Weighted least mean squares analysis and nonlinear parameter estimation. Noise processes in periodic phenomena. Image processing and restoration techinques.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 21b or equivalent.

Primarily for Graduates

These courses are primarily aimed at graduate students in astronomy, although properly prepared undergraduates and graduate students from other fields are welcome. The required core courses are Astronomy 150, 192, 206, 207, and 208, while a wide range of advanced courses is available for further work. Courses may be available as reading courses at times other than those shown, by arrangement with the instructor. Students with a special interest in relativity should note Physics 210 and 211.
*Astronomy 204. Galactic and Extragalactic Dynamics
Catalog Number: 6396
George B. Rybicki
Half course (spring term). M., W., 10:30–12. EXAM GROUP: 3, 4
Dynamics of stellar systems. Properties of orbits. The collisionless Boltzmann equation and Jeans theorem. Models for star clusters, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. The evolution of globular clusters. Dynamical friction, tides, mergers, and cannibalism. Density wave theory of spiral structure. Formation of galaxies. Simulation of galaxy dynamics.
Prerequisite: Physics 151 or equivalent.

Astronomy 206. Stellar Physics
Catalog Number: 2128
Dimitar D. Sasselov
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., at 10. EXAM GROUP: 12
Stellar physics is studied from two basic precepts: of stars as the elementary (baryonic) building blocks in the Universe and of the evolution of matter (nucleosynthesis). The theory of stellar interiors and atmospheres is developed from general grounds and applied as fit to the variety of stellar objects and their environments. The observational methods (spectroscopy, dynamics, and seismology) are also discussed briefly. The goal is to provide basic tools for further research and an overall picture of the evolution of matter in the Universe.

[Astronomy 207. Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy]
Catalog Number: 2446
Lars Hernquist and Martin J. White
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
The cosmological principle: isotropy and homogeneity, cosmological world models, thermal history of the Big Bang, the microwave background, growth of density fluctuations, formation and evolution of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, large scale structure, structure of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, gravitational lensing, candidates for dark matter, measurements of cosmological parameters.
Note: Expected to be given in 2001–02.

Astronomy 208. The Physics of the Interstellar Medium
Catalog Number: 4842
Alyssa A. Goodman
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., 11–12:30. EXAM GROUP: 13, 14
The Interstellar Medium [ISM] of our own and other galaxies, as well as the Intergalactic Medium will be discussed, with the greatest emphasis on the Milky Way’s ISM. Various physically distinct regions will be investigated, including cold neutral gas, hot ionized gas, photon-dominated regions, high-velocity clouds, and galactic nuclei. Star-forming clouds and supernova remnants will be addressed in detail, as will the interaction of stellar winds with the ISM. The goal of the course will be an understanding of how to measure, understand, and predict the conditions (i.e., temperature, density, chemical composition, ionization state, magnetic field, velocity distribution) of the gas and dust in interstellar material, and to understand the role of the interstellar material in galaxies and the universe.

[Astronomy 218. Radio Astronomy]
Catalog Number: 2883
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Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Historical development; theory of antennas and interferometers; signal detection and measurement techniques. Thermal, synchrotron and spectral-line emission in the context of radio observations of the sun, planets, pulsars, masers, hydrogen clouds, molecular clouds, ionized regions, active galaxies, quasars, and the cosmic background.
Note: Expected to be given in 2001–02. Astronomy 150 or Physics 153 recommended.

Astronomy 219. High Energy Astrophysics
Catalog Number: 1858
Jonathan E. Grindlay and Ramesh Narayan
Half course (spring term). M., W., 2:30–4:30. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8, 9
Discussion of relativistic and high-energy astrophysical phenomena. Accretion disks and magnetic accretion. Compact stars: white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes. Binary evolution. Cosmic ray and gamma-ray astronomy, observational techniques and sources, gamma-ray bursts and jets. X-ray astronomy, detectors, telescopes, and analysis techniques. X-ray sources, accreting x-ray binaries: bursts, disk coronae, supernova remnants, galaxy clusters. Active galactic nuclei and super-massive black holes. X-ray and gamma-ray background.

[Astronomy 225. Formation of Stars and Planets]
Catalog Number: 0983
Philip C. Myers and Lee W. Hartmann
Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
Components and structural properties of the interstellar medium, molecular clouds and their cores, young stellar objects in isolation and in clusters, dynamical processes in star formation and circumstellar disk evolution, properties of the primitive solar nebula and solar system development, extrasolar planetary systems.
Note: Expected to be given in 2001–02.

Graduate Courses of Reading and Research

Unless otherwise specified, these courses are given fall term, repeated spring term.
*Astronomy 300. Topics in Modern Astrophysics
Catalog Number: 7915
Ramesh Narayan 2871, Alexander Dalgarno 1157, Thomas M. Dame 2755, Daniel G. Fabricant 3711, Giovanni G. Fazio 1143, George B. Field 3836, Margaret J. Geller 4867, Alyssa A. Goodman 3348, Jonathan E. Grindlay 4593, Lee W. Hartmann 7420, Lars Hernquist 4250, Paul T. P. Ho 7532, Matthew Holman 1260, John P. Huchra 6271, Scott J. Kenyon 1648, Robert P. Kirshner 1071, John L. Kohl 4972, David W. Latham 3716, David Layzer 1163, Myron Lecar 1026, Abraham Loeb 3349, James M. Moran 4090, Stephen S. Murray 3707, Philip C. Myers 1033, Robert W. Noyes 1651 (on leave fall term), William H. Parkinson 3065, William H. Press 4693 (on leave fall term), Mark Jonathan Reid 3858, George B. Rybicki 3734, Dimitar D. Sasselov 1020, Irwin I. Shapiro 7660, Simon J. Steel 1842, Robert P. Stefanik 1003, Patrick Thaddeus 1398, Edward Tong 1004, Ronald L. Walsworth 2263, Martin J. White 3293, and David J. Wilner 2855
A seminar, reading, or research course may be arranged with any of the faculty listed. Students can also arrange to obtain Astronomy 300 credit for reading or research with scientific staff members of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; consult Astronomy Department office.