Astronomy at Carleton

Faculty: Cindy Blaha and Joel Weisberg

Physics plays an important role in modern astronomical research. The best way to prepare for study in astronomy is to have a solid physics background. Students wishing to pursue careers in astronomy should major in physics and take ASTR113 (Observational and Laboratory Astronomy) and one or both of ASTR/PHYS232, 233 (Astrophysics I, II).

Astronomy 113 (Observational and Laboratory Astronomy) presents the theory and practice of basic techniques in observational and laboratory astronomy. Use is made, when appropriate, of the 16-and 8-inch telescopes in Goodsell Observatory. In recent years this course has been augmented to include modern CCD digital imaging technologies. Astronomy 232 (Astrophysics I) is an intermediate level course on the fundamentals of the physical structure of stars and star systems, stellar evolution, neutron stars and black holes. Astronomy 233 (Astrophysics II) covers the interstellar medium, our galaxy, external galaxies, quasars and cosmology. ASTR232 and ASTR233 are not prerequisites for each other; students may take either or both. The two courses are offered in alternate years.

Both Cindy Blaha and Joel Weisberg gather data at major observatories, including Arecibo and the Parkes observatory in Australia, and analyze them on workstations at Carleton with the assistance of student researchers who sign up for Special Projects, ASTR356. Consult Cindy or Joel for details about the Astrophysics program and research opportunities.