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Astronomy Courses at Grenfell Campus

 Physics 2151: Stellar Astronomy & Astrophysics

This course will be offered in the Fall Term of 2014.

Physics 2151 is an introductory astronomy course with no physics prerequisites. It is open to first-year students and above. A knowledge of high school-level algebra is assumed. (While the calendar description gives a pre-requisite of two semesters of Math, this is unnecessary, and will be waived on request; see Dr. Forbes.)

Globular cluster M13This course is an introduction to the Universe! Topics include light and gravity, the lives and deaths of stars, the stuff between the stars, supernovae and neutron stars, black holes and relativity, galaxies, cosmology, dark matter, dark energy and the Big Bang, and the prospect of life elsewhere.

There will be opportunities to use Grenfell Campus Observatory's 0.6m telescope for an observing-based project - weather permitting. More information will be given in class.

Instructor: Dr. Douglas Forbes
Office: AS 3028
Phone: 637-6295
E-Mail: dforbes at grenfell dot mun dot ca
Text:  Stars and Galaxies (8th Edition, 2012), by Backman & Seeds

Earth Science 2150: The Solar System

This is a very exciting time for the exploration of the solar system! Already we have returned samples of comet-stuff and landed a probe on Saturnís smoggy moon, Titan. Two robotic explorers continue to study the surface of Mars - one after landing more than ten years ago. We have spacecraft in orbit around sun-baked Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Saturn, and the main-belt asteroid Vesta. Others are on their way to Jupiter and distant Pluto. There's never been a better time to consider a course in the ultimate "environmental science" - planetary astronomy!

Uranus with ringThis course requires no previous astronomy or physics background. The only math used is some geometry and algebra, but no calculus. The emphasis is on giving you an introduction to the structure, origin, and evolution of the many worlds in our solar system.  And, youíll have the unique opportunity to use the 0.6-m telescope of the Grenfell Campus Observatory as part of your coursework!

We will not describe the planets one by one. Instead, youíll learn about processes such as the origin of planets and the evolution of their surfaces. By mastering a few basic concepts from several different fields, you will be able to understand a remarkable variety of processes that affect the planets, including the Earth. What will this give you? A knowledge of how planets evolve, of what governs their crustal structure and their surfaces, and of the nearly limitless resources of material and energy that lie within our reach - knowledge that can help us live more successfully on and off the Earth.

Instructor: Dr. Douglas Forbes
Office: AS 3028
Phone: 637-6295
E-Mail: dforbes at grenfell dot mun dot ca
Text:  Moons and Planets (5th Edition), by William K. Hartmann

Physics 3160: Galaxies & Cosmology

This course covers the structure and history of our own Galaxy, the properties of normal and active galaxies, their formation and evolution.  The second part of the course is an overview of cosmological models and their observational background, the Big Bang, and the evolution and expansion of the Universe.

Physics 3160 is an upper year physics/astronomy course
Prerequisites: P
hysics 2056 and 2151 and Mathematics 2000. Physics 3220 is recommended.

NGC 4676Instructor: Dr. Douglas Forbes
Office: AS 3028
Phone: 637-6295
E-Mail: dforbes at grenfell dot mun dot ca


An Introduction to Galaxies and Cosmology, Edited by Jones and Lambourne (2004,  Cambridge University Press)
An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd ed.,  A. Liddle, (2003, Wiley)

Other Recommended Books:

Galaxies in the Universe (2nd Ed.), L.S. Sparke & J.S. Gallagher (2007, Cambridge University Press)

 Physics 3180: Observational Astrophysics

This course will be offered in Winter Term 2015.

Theoretical topics including celestial mechanics, continuous and line spectra, stellar structure and nucleosynthesis, and stellar evolution.  Observational topics include planning observations, acquisition of images with a CCD electronic camera, fundamentals of astronomical image processing, photometry, and stellar spectroscopy using a variety of software packages.

Physics 3180 is an upper year physics/astronomy course.
Prerequisites: Physics 2056 and Mathematics 2000. Physics 2151 is recommended.

Some projects will be done with the Grenfell Observatory telescope and its instruments, and will require students' participation at nightime observing sessions.

Instructor: Dr. Douglas Forbes
Office: AS 3028
Phone: 637-6295
E-Mail: dforbes at grenfell dot mun dot ca


To Measure the Sky: An Introduction to Observational Astronomy, Frederick R. Chromey (2010, Cambridge University Press)

An Introduction to Astronomical Photometry Using CCDs, W. Romanishin
(available from Physics Laboratory SharePt site)

Milky Way galaxy in infrared light

  Last update: 03 July, 2014

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