ASTR 300 Stars and Stellar Systems

Spring 2008 Course Introduction

ASTR 300 Stars and Stellar Systems is a 3-credit course. To take this class, you should have taken ASTR 100 or ASTR 101 and have completed your CORE Distributive Studies requirement in Mathematics and Sciences.

In ASTR 300, we begin by looking at our solar system as a whole to understand the basic processes that are occurring within it. Then we move outward to learn about the stars: why they shine, what they are like, and where they are. During our explorations, we will use our Sun as our standard to which we compare other stars. We will explore how stars are formed and how they die. After stars die, they become one of several exotic types of objects: white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes, and we will learn about each of these.

In the next part of the course, we will think about large groups of stars: galaxies. We will learn about our own galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as other galaxies. We will see that galaxies also change over time, and we will study how those changes occur through supermassive black holes and galaxy collisions.

This class is aimed at non-science majors. It will emphasize the methods scientists use to determine what we know about astronomical objects. The math skills required are those you should possess upon entry to the university and completion of your CORE math requirement: some algebra, the use of scientific notation and units, and how to interpret graphs.

The image in the background is the open star cluster M38 in Auriga. The image is copyright NOAO, AURA, NSF.
The material on these webpages is Copyright © 2007 by Melissa N. Hayes-Gehrke and may not be reproduced without my permission.