Astronomy

Undergraduate Programs

Minors

Program Locations Total Credits
Astronomy Minor
18

Policies & Faculty

Policies

GPA Policy. Astronomy minors must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA in all coursework for their astronomy program, and in addition must earn a “C” or better for a course to apply to their minor. These standards apply to the courses required for the degree and their prerequisites. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation. There are no prerequisite GPA requirements for internships. 

Contact Information

141 Trafton North

Main Office (507) 389-5743
http://cset.mnsu.edu/pa/

Faculty

100 Level

Credits: 3

Broad survey of astronomy: the night sky, seasons, moon phases, eclipses, light, telescopes, stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, cosmology, the solar system.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 3

Survey of our solar system: the sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids; history of the discovery and exploration of the solar system.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 2

Experiments in astronomy; astronomical observations; measurement, interpretation, and analysis of various types of astronomical data. Lab included.

Prerequisites: AST 101 or AST 102

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 2

The probability of extraterrestrial intelligent life; the chemical basis of life; planetary environments; habitable zones; the Drake equation; UFOs; space travel; interstellar communication; limits on technical civilizations. General Education Categories 2 and 3.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-02, GE-03

Credits: 3

Techniques for observing with the naked eye, binoculars and small telescopes; constellation and star identification; use of star atlases and handbooks; observations of stars, binaries, clusters, nebulae, planets and the sun and moon, etc. Students will also learn how astronomical theories are formulated and tested by observing phenomena in the sky. Evening observing labs required.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

200 Level

Credits: 2

The celestial sphere; coordinate systems; sidereal and solar time; diurnal motion; precession; proper motion; refraction; aberration; parallax. Requires a background in trigonometry.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 4

Celestial mechanics; gravitational and tidal forces; stellar motions and parallax; radiation and matter; magnitudes and stellar spectra; binary stars and stellar masses; stellar structure and evolution.

Prerequisites: MATH 121 and PHYS 221 

Credits: 4

Stellar endpoints; close binary systems; variable stars; the Milky Way; normal galaxies; galactic evolution; active galaxies and quasars; cosmology.

Prerequisites: AST 215, MATH 122, PHYS 222 

Credits: 1-6

A short course devoted to a specific astronomical topic. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: none

300 Level

Credits: 2

Operating the 0.5 meter telescope; operating the BRC 250 astrograph; learning to install and operate ancillary equipment for both telescopes.

Prerequisites: AST 201 and AST 215, Consent 

Credits: 2

Photometric systems; observational techniques of point-source photometry: methods of data reduction; interpretation of data.

Prerequisites: AST 215 

Credits: 2

Observations of extended sources; photometric calibration of extended sources; use of secondary standard stars.

Prerequisites: AST 353 

Credits: 2

Reduction of digital images to determine positions, proper motions, and parallaxes of stars; analysis of errors.

Prerequisites: AST 201 and AST 215 

Credits: 2

Line identification; radial velocity determinations; spectral classifications.

Prerequisites: AST 225 

400 Level

Credits: 3

Blackbody radiation; radiative transfer; atomic structure; spectroscopic notation; excitation; ionization; absorption and emission coefficients; line profiles; analysis of stellar spectra.

Prerequisites: AST 225 and PHYS 223 

Credits: 3

The gaseous state; degenerate matter; equations of stellar structure; polytropes; models of stellar interiors and atmospheres; stellar evolution; nucleosynthesis; stellar endpoints.

Prerequisites: AST 420 

Credits: 3

Structure, kinematics, and dynamics of our galaxy.

Prerequisites: AST 225, PHYS 222, MATH 223 

Credits: 3

Normal galaxies; groups and clusters of galaxies; galaxy interactions and mergers; active galactic nuclei; large-scale structure; galaxy formation and evolution; cosmology.

Prerequisites: AST 430 

Credits: 1-4

May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Credits: 1-6

A course designed to upgrade the qualifications of persons on-the-job.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-6

Students will conduct supervised research in astronomy.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Credits: 1-6

A short course devoted to a specific astronomical topic. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-4

A course in a particular area of astronomy not regularly offered. May be repeated for credit on each new topic.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Credits: 1-16

Provides a student the opportunity to gain expertise and experience in a special field under the supervision of a qualified person.

Prerequisites: Consent 

Credits: 1-8

Individual study under the guidance of an astronomy faculty member.

Prerequisites: Consent