Astronomy (ASTR) Courses

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

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ASTR 110 General Astronomy (3) A survey of modern astronomy intended for non-science majors; the structure and evolution of the solar system, stars, stellar systems, and the Universe. If students desire to take ASTR 110, 180, and 181, they may receive credit for ASTR 110 only if it is taken prior to taking ASTR 180 and ASTR 181.

ASTR 110L Gen Astronomy Lab (1) (lab) Demonstration of astronomical principles through laboratory observations and analysis of astronomical data. Not required for ASTR 110. Pre: ASTR 110, ASTR 150, ASTR 180, ASTR 181 may be taken concurrently.

ASTR 111 Intro to Space Exploration (3) Survey of applied science, social, cultural and engineering topics in space science, focusing on exploration. Past, present and future aspects of space exploration. Relationship to Hawaiian views of cosmology and Hawaiian traditions such as Wayfaring and relationship to the land. (Same as PHYS 111)

ASTR 130 Intro To Space Science (3) An introduction to space science and related subjects. Topics discussed are the contents of the solar system and of near-Earth space, history, and physical principles of space flight, remote sensing of the Earth from space, space habitats and manned missions to the planets, the sociological impact of space exploration, and the prospects for life elsewhere in the Universe.

ASTR 150 Life in The Universe (3) The possibility that life might exist elsewhere in the universe has fascinated human beings ever since our ancestors first gazed into the starry sky. In this course, the question for extraterrestrial life is considered from astronomical, biological, and sociological perspectives. Topics include planets, stars and galaxies, the Big Bang, the origin and evolution of life on Earth, searches for extraterrestrial life, and more. A non-mathematical course for non-science majors who want to explore astronomy.

ASTR 180 Princ Of Astron I (3) A survey of modern solar system astronomy, with emphasis on the underlying physical principles. Topics discussed include the celestial sphere and aspects of the night sky, the structure and evolution of the Sun's planetary system, comparative planetology, and theories of the formation of planetary systems. Intended for science majors and prospective science teachers. The student should have a good operational familiarity with high school algebra. If students desire to take ASTR 110, 180 and 181, they may receive credit for ASTR 110 only if it is taken prior to taking ASTR 180 and ASTR 181. Pre: Either Math 103, MATH 125, MATH 135, MATH 140, MATH 140X or equivalent, or concurrently enrolled in MATH 205 or higher.

ASTR 181 Princ Of Astron II (3) A survey of modern stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astronomy, with emphasis on the underlying physical principles. Topics covered include stellar structure, interstellar environments and the formation of stars, stellar evolution and death, the structures of galaxies, and cosmology. Intended for science majors and prospective science teachers. The student should have a good operational familiarity with high school algebra. If students desire to take ASTR 110, 180 and 181, they may receive credit for ASTR 110 only if it is taken prior to taking ASTR 180 and 181. Pre: ASTR 180.

ASTR 224 Spaceflight (3) All aspects of manned and unmanned spaceflight, with emphasis on actual technologies and procedures used in space exploration. For students interested in Astronomy, Physics, Planetary Sciences, Aerospace Engineering or with a general interest in spaceflight. Pre: any one of the following PHYS 151 or higher; CHEM 151 or higher; MATH 140X or higher. Students lacking these pre-requisites who believe they have sufficient science background may be admitted with the instructor's permission. (Same as PHYS 224)

ASTR 230 Applied Electronics I (4) (lecture/lab) Theory and applications of circuit design and analysis with an emphasis on analog devices. AC and DC series and parallel RLC circuits, diodes, transistors and operational amplifiers. Laboratory will consist of construction and analysis of representative circuits. Pre: PHYS 173 or PHYS 272, and PHYS 272L. (Same as PHYS 230).

ASTR 250 Observational Astronomy (3) An introduction to the tools and techniques of observational astronomy: astronomical time and coordinate systems, photometric systems and magnitudes, principles of telescopes and their operation, introduction to modern astronomical instruments, analysis of astronomical data. Coursework includes observations with small telescopes, and tours of the observatories on Mauna Kea. Pre: ASTR 180, 181, MATH 205 and PHYS 272.

ASTR 250L Observational Astronomy Lab (2) (lab) A lab course in observational astronomy where students use and characterize astronomical instruments (telescopes, detectors, spectrographs). Astronomical observations such as imaging or spectroscopic data will be acquired, processed, and analyzed. Applications to stellar and astrophysics will be examined. Pre: ASTR 181 or equivalent, and ASTR 250 (which can be taken concurrently).

ASTR 260 Computational Physics & Astron (3) Computational techniques in physics and astronomy, with an emphasis on fundamental algorithms and development of code in high-level languages. Topics include least squares, interpolation, random number generators and numerical integration of differential equations. Pre: PHYS 272 or PHYS 173, CS 150. (Same as PHYS 260)

ASTR 260L Computational Phys & Astr Lab (1) (lab) Will offer an introduction to unix command language and programming skills relevant to Astronomy. Emphasis on writing algorithms and code programming in Python, C ++, or Fortran. Some elements of IDL and IRAF are covered. Problems will come from physics and astrophysics that will be solved using numerical methods and mathematical algorithms presents in the PHYS 260 lecture. Topics covered are integration methods, interpolation, error estimation, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, linear and non-linear equations, Fourier methods, random numbers and Monte Carlo methods. Pre: PHYS 272 or PHYS 173, PHYS 260 (may be taken concurrently). (Same as PHYS 260L)

ASTR 275 Akamai Internship (3) Uses data collection and analysis techniques to articulate foundational principles behind Hawaii observatory operations and remote-sensing based technologies. Create and communicate engineering solutions to Hawaii observatory and tech industry use cases. Includes laboratory exercises and inquiries to build teamwork, presentation skills and practical experiences of the technical workplace. Utilizes technologies and analysis techniques relevant to the Hawaii high-tech industry. Summers only. Pre: Instructor Consent, Repeatable up to 9 credits. (Attributes: ALEX)

ASTR 350 Stellar Astrophysics (3) An introduction to the physical concepts dictating the formation, structure, and evolution of stars, and the interstellar medium. Astrophysical concepts and observational data are combined to provide a unified treatment of stellar astrophysics. Concepts of Jeans instabilities, hydrostatic equilibrium, radiative transfer in stars, stellar atmospheres, stellar nucleosynthesis, and stellar remnants are covered. Pre: ASTR 181, PHYS 274, PHYS/ASTR 260, and PHYS 341 (which can be taken concurrently).

ASTR 350L Stellar Astrophysics Lab (2) (lab) A laboratory course in experimental astrophysics where students obtain data of stars, star clusters, and star-forming regions with small, portable telescopes and UH Hilo telescope on Maunakea. Data acquisition takes place throughout the semester whereby students learn how to troubleshoot equipment and develop technical skills. Weekly laboratory projects use data obtained with telescopes, cameras, and spectrographs and solidify theoretical concepts presented in ASTR 350 Stellar Astrophysics. Pre: ASTR 250, ASTR 250L, and ASTR 350 which can be taken concurrently.

ASTR 351 Galactic & Extragal Astrophys (3) A course in extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, covering topics on the structure and formation of the Milky Way, normal galaxies, active galactic nuclei, clusters, interstellar and intergalactic media, large scale structure, cosmological models, and spacetime metrics. Pre: ASTR 181, ASTR 350, PHYS 274, PHYS/ASTR 260.

ASTR 351L Galactic & Extragal Astr Lab (2) (lab) A laboratory course in experimental astrophysics where students obtain data of galactic components, nearby and distant galaxies, galaxies of different morphological types, and extragalactic star-forming regions active galactic nuclei, lensed galaxies, and cluster of galaxies using the 0.7m UH Hilo telescpoe and the 2.2m telescope. Data acquisition takes place throughout the semester whereby students further improve their observational techniques and sources. Weekly laboratory projects use data obtained with a wide range of telescopes, cameras, and spectrographs and technical skills learning how to acquire faint and extended solidify theoretical concepts presented in ASTR 351 Galactic & Extragal Astrophysics. Pre: ASTR 350L; and ASTR 351 which can be taken concurrently.

ASTR 352 Planets and Exoplanets (3) Study of the geology and geophysics of Earth-like planets and satellites in the Solar System, with emphasis on understanding terrestrial geology in a border, astronomical context and applications to exoplanet research. Study of the atmospheres of Solar System planets and satellites, and also and also the formation and evolution of the Solar System and extrasolar planetary systems. Pre: GEOL 111, ASTR 180, PHYS 151, PHYS 170. (Same as ASTR 352).

ASTR 375 Literature Review Practicum (1) (other) A guided course for writing a literature survey on a topic in physics or astronomy. This course can be repeated if a different writing topic is approved. Credits earned in this course may NOT be counted as upper-division physics or astronomy electives needed for the BA in Physics or the BS in Astronomy degrees. Pre: 9 credit hours in Physics or Astronomy courses at the 200 level or above AND permission of the instructor.

ASTR 381 Cosmos and Culture (3) (lecture/other) Selected topics on the historical, intellectual, social, and cultural context of astronomical discovery. Interdisciplinary skills and knowledge for understanding the place of Astronomy in a multi-cultural society.

ASTR 385 Software Systems for Astronomy (3) The course provides basic instruction in the design and implementation of software for telescope control systems, instrument control systems (cameras and spectrographs); as well as the web-based tools used to plan observations. The course also covers the analysis and archiving of astronomical data. Students learn about existing software tools and packages, develop their own software tools, and analyze datasets from today's leading observatories. The course is open to both astronomy students with a strong interest in computer science, and to computer science students with a strong interest in astronomy. Pre: ASTR 110 or ASTR 180; CS 150 or instructor approval.

ASTR 400 Observatory Internship (1–6) Cooperative education experience with student employed in an astronomical observatory or research facility on the Island of Hawaii. One credit is granted for each full-time working month, or equivalent thereof, to a limit of 6 credits (such credits may not be counted as upper-division astronomy electives for the purpose of fulfilling that requirement for the B.S. degree in Astronomy). Pre: consent of Department. (Attributes: ALEX)

ASTR 432 Senior Lab/Thesis Project (3) (lab) Individual research projects conducted in the college laboratory, library, or observatory; or at an external research facility; under the direct guidance of a member of the physics and astronomy faculty or an affiliated faculty member. Students must propose and complete a research project, and present a final report to the department. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6 credits. Pre: permission of the department is required. (Same as PHYS 432)

ASTR 450 Instruments & Techniques (3) A course in current astronomy observational instruments and techniques, with emphasis on "hands-on" use of instruments to acquire data with research telescopes on Mauna Kea. Topics covered include optical and infrared photometric instruments, CCD and IRCCD cameras, astronomical spectrographs and interferometers, advanced data analysis. Pre: ASTR 250, PHYS 331, PHYS/ASTR 260.

ASTR 460 Gravitation & Cosmology (3) An introduction to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, with emphasis on astronomical applications: the curvature of space-time and the principle of equivalence; gravitational collapse and black holes; the large-scale structure of the Universe; modern cosmology. Pre: PHYS 274, MATH 232.

ASTR 495A Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. The first semester (495A) is taken CR/NC; in the second semester (495B), students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing or instructor's consent. (Same as CHEM 495A-495B, GEOL 495A-495B, MATH 495A-495B, and PHYS 495A-495B.)

ASTR 495B Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. Students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing, or instructor's consent. (Same as CHEM 495B, GEOL 495B, MATH 495B, and PHYS 495B).

ASTR 496 Space Studies Seminar (1) Seminar presentations of topics related to space exploration by invited speakers, faculty, and enrolled students. Students are required to prepare and submit reaction papers/essays.


ASTR x94 Special Topics in Subject Matter (Arr.) Special topics chosen by the instructor. Course content will vary. May be repeated for credit, provided that a different topic is studied. Additional requirements may apply depending on subject and topic.

ASTR x99 Directed Studies (Arr.) Statement of planned reading or research required. Pre: instructor’s consent.