ASTR206b Spring 2013
Intro to Astrophysics II - Galaxies and Cosmology



Instructor: Beth Willman
bwillman at haverford dot edu

Class: TTh 10 - 11:30 am in the observatory
Office Hours:TBD

Prerequisite: Astronomy 205 Textbook: Foundations of Astrophysics by Ryden and Peterson, the same text used in the first semester of this course. We will cover Chapters 5.4, 16, 19-24 and also use supplementary papers and texts.


This is the second half of a year-long introduction to astrophysical topics. This course will provide a physically motivated, contemporary overview of the beginning to end of the universe and everything in-between. The framework we will develop is also a pre-requisite to the study of more advanced astronomical topics. When appropriate, we will enrich our study with material outside of our text, including research articles. By the end of this year-long course, you will have experience in both basic observational and computational astronomical techniques and the ability to read basic papers in the research literature.


During the Fall semester, observational astronomy projects acquainted you with basic observational techniques and analysis. To complement this observational experience, we will conduct two-three labs that will require you to program during the Spring semester. Two of these labs will teach you about numerical simulations as a technique to study the universe, and a third that focuses on studying archival spectra may be added.

Assignments and Grading:

The grading breakdown will be: homework (30%), labs (15%), exams (40%), participation (15%). Homework assignments will be due at the beginning of class, roughly every other week for a total of 5 over the course of the semester. Late work will be penalized by 10% for each day it is late (excluding weekends). There will be a midterm and a final exam. I grade down homework for being unstapled, sloppy or otherwise incoherent. "Participation" is broadly defined and includes attendance, completing reading assignments, engagement during lectures, quality of homework effort. Attendance is mandatory and will be counted in your participation grade. You need to give advance notice to Willman if you will miss a class. However, if you are ill, please don’t come to class even if you are unable to give advanced notice. I would much rather give you one-on-one makeup classes then have you attend when ill.

Honor Code:

You may not consult any resource from any previously taught astronomy class when completing your coursework - in particular homework and exam solutions. You also may not distribute any materials you obtain when taking this class to any entity or person who is not currently enrolled in this class. If a student is interested to see example materials, then I would be happy to provide them myself. Collaboration is an important part of doing science. I encourage you to collaborate on your homework and lab assignments. I would be happy to facilitate such collaboration if you need help setting up a study group. All assignments must still be completed by each student on her/his own, and work handed in may not have been copied off of work written down by another student of off of any other resource. Please ask me to clarify any aspect of your coursework for which you have an honor code or plagiarism question (May I use source X for assignment Y? How should I properly credit source Y for having number Z that I used in a calculation?). I would be very happy to discuss.