ani_phases.gif (93875 bytes) Astronomy
Physics at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, Corner Brook, NL
Astronomers Witout Borders


Physics 2151: Stellar Astronomy & Astrophysics

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This course will be offered in the Fall Term of 2013.   

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.

This 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.


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


Stars and Galaxies (8th Edition, 2012), by Backman & Seeds

Other Resources:

Check out the Astronomy links on this website.

 Find out about the Grenfell Campus Observatory!

Course Outline:

We will concentrate on four "big ideas": the sky at night, light & atoms, the structure and lives of stars, and galaxies & cosmology.
Week 1 - 2 Sky, Moon, History, Telescopes Chapter 1 - 6
Week 3 - 5 Light and Atoms, Spectra, Sun, Stars Chapter 6 - 9
Week 6 ISM, Stellar Structure & Evolution Chapter 10 - 13
Week 7 - 9 Stellar Death, Milky Way, Galaxies Chapter 14 - 16
Week 10 - 12 Galaxies & Universe, Origin of Everything Chapter 17 - 18
Week 13 Life Elsewhere Chapter 26

Marking Scheme: 

Quizzes  (3) 45 %   Quiz 1  Friday 27 Sept.  
Observing Project 20 %   Quiz 2  Thurs. 17 Oct.  
Final Exam 35 %   Quiz 3  Tues. 19 Nov.  


100 %      

The Observing Project:

As a significant portion of your class grade (20 %), you will be assigned to a group of three or four students. Together you will choose an object from a list to observe with the Grenfell Campus telescope and analyse the images using image processing software to highlight a particular scientific aspect of the object. Your results will be presented in a poster that you and your group will design and display towards the end of the term. 
More information will be handed out and discussed in an early lecture.  More information here.

Policy on missed tests:

Please be aware that missed quizzes will receive a mark of zero. Anyone who is prevented by illness or bereavement or other acceptable cause, duly authenticated, from writing a test, may request an exemption from this policy.

Your attention is drawn to University regulations governing academic offences, particularly plagiarism. Anyone found guilty of an academic offence can expect, at the very least, to receive a mark of zero for the work in question.

Outside Reading:

You will find a reasonably good selection of books on astronomy and related topics in the Ferriss Hodgett Library on campus. The main astronomy titles are to be found in the QB section. Some related titles will be found in the neighbouring physics and earth sciences stacks. There are also some astronomy titles in the QB section of the reference stacks - most of the star atlases are kept there. The Campus library also carries periodicals like Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, Scientific American, New Scientist, among others, which often feature articles and up-to-date- reports on astronomy. Also, there are nearly an infinite number of astronomy-related sites on the Internet.

Also see The Bookshelf page, elsewhere in the Physics site.

Astronomy on the Web:

A short list of astronomy links can be found within this web site. An excellent starting place is Portal to the Universe.

Below are some other Canadian observatories and research centres. Check them out and find out what Canadian astronomers are doing to explore the universe !

[o]Burke-Gaffney Observatory, Halifax, NS
[o]Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), Hawaii
[o]Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), Toronto
[o]Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO), Victoria, BC
[o]Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, Penticton, BC
[o]NRC Herzberg, a division of the National Research Council of Canada
[o]The Gemini 8m Telescopes Project
[o]James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
[o]Mont Mégantic Observatory, Quebec

Milky Way galaxy in infrared light

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