Astronomy Courses at NCSU

The Physics Department offers two one-semester, nontechnical astronomy classes with no prerequisites: PY 123: Stellar and Galactic Astronomy and PY 124: Solar System Astronomy. Either of these three-hour lecture classes may be combined with either of two astronomy laboratory courses to make a four-hour laboratory science satisfying General Education requirements. The traditional, night-time small-telescope laboratory is PY 125, Astronomy Laboratory, and our new computer-based laboratory is PY 126, Computer-based Astronomy Laboratory. This computer laboratory meets once a week during daytime hours (in Fall 1999, one section is offered, meeting Monday 12:25 -- 2:15). Both PY 125 and PY 126 have co-requisites of PY 123 or PY 124; BOTH PY 125 and PY 126 REQUIRE concurrent enrollment in PY 123 or 124. Students may receive credit for both PY 125 and PY 126, but only by taking both PY 123 and PY 124. PY 123 and PY 124 are completely independent: either course can be taken alone, or both can be taken in either order. In particular, PY 123 is NOT a prerequisite for PY 124!

A somewhat more technical introduction to astronomical subjects is PY 328: Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics, normally offered each fall. PY 328 has a prerequisite of PY 208 or PY 202, and will present an introduction to the physics of stars and galaxies using elementary physics and calculus. It should meet any curriculum's requirements for a technical elective.

The Physics Department will also offer PY 341: Spacetime Physics , an introduction to the special and general theories of relativity with astrophysical applications. This course is normally offered in the Spring. PY 341 has a prerequisite of PY 203 or PY 407. PY 328 and PY 341, along with prerequisites PY 201, 202, and 203, or PY 205, 208, and 407, complete the requirements for a minor in Physics.

In addition, the department will occasionally offer PY 543: Astrophysics. This is an advanced undergraduate or early graduate level course dealing with more technical aspects of astronomy and astrophysics, including radiation, star formation, atomic processes in stars, supernovae, galaxy formation and galactic dynamics, and other relevant topics.

For further information, contact J. Blondin (208A BOM, 5-7096;, S. Reynolds (208D BOM, 5-7751,, or D. Ellison (208C BOM, 5-7227,

Class schedules and instructor assignments for Fall Semester, 2007

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