Astronomy at College of San Mateo - Curriculum

Astronomy 100
Can you travel back in time and be chased by a velociraptor? How close can you get to a black hole? On what asteroid can a 250 lb person weigh as little as a mouse? What happened to Pluto? To answer these questions, take a walk on the wild side with Introduction to Astronomy, ASTR 100 and find out!

Introduction to Astronomy (3 units) Two lecture hours and one recitation hour per week. Survey of astronomy satisfying science requirements in state colleges and universities. Includes descriptive material on the solar system, stars, galaxies and life in the universe, together with an introduction to the methods employed by astronomers in gathering information. (AA, CSU, UC)

Astronomy 101
How far away is the nearest star? What will the constellation Orion look like a million years from now? What does the night sky look like from Bali? Astronomy Laboratory, ASTR 101 has the answer.

Astronomy Laboratory (1 unit) Three lab hours per week. Prerequisites: MATH 110 or equivalent AND completion of or concurrent enrollment in ASTR 100. Use of planetarium for constellation identification, coordinate systems, and basic measurements of planets, stars and spectra. Occasional telescopic observations and visits to observatories. ASTR 100, satisfies lab science requirements for UC and California State Universities. Extra supplies may be required. (AA, CSU, UC)

Astronomy 103
How would you like to take a picture of Saturn with its beautiful rings and giant moon Titan? Or, what about taking a picture of the moon with all of its craters and mountains? Or, how about seeing massive galaxies as they were 60 million years ago? View all of these objects and more through some of the department’s many telescopes. How can one do this? By taking the Observational Astronomy Laboratory, ASTR 103. You will also learn to find the North Star and identify such constellations as Hydra the Water Snake and Leo the Lion.

Observational Astronomy Lab (1 unit) Introduction to observational astronomy is for the general public interested in astronomy and for students taking ASTR 100 and/or ASTR 115 and/or ASTR 125. Students will learn to observe and image planets, stars and galaxies. They will also investigate the rotation of the Earth, take measurements of the sky and find the height of Polaris above the northern horizon. Focus on observational techniques. Students will have hands-on access to telescopes.

Astronomy 115
What is the difference between a 'dwarf planet' and a 'plutoid'? What are the latest findings about the presence of water on the planet Mars? Why are the tiger stripes on Saturn's moon, Enceladus, so intriguing to astronomers? You can find out about these recent findings and more, by taking the Solar System class, ASTR 115.

The Solar System (3 units) This class covers our sun the planets and their moons, as well as comets, meteors and asteroids. This class also covers the history of astronomy and the contributions of various cultures to astronomy. Emphasizes the connection between Newton's Laws and the conservation of energy to Kepler's Laws of planetary motion. The discovery of extrasolar planets and the search for earthlike planets is also discussed. (AA, CSU, UC)
Astronomy 125
Study the sun, other stars, Milky Way galaxy, other galaxies and their evolution, black holes, quasars, dark matter, and the foundations of cosmology. Will become familiar with the basic tenets of general relativity and its application to black holes. The concept regarding stars as the primary producers of energy in the universe as well as the chemicals necessary for life, is emphasized. 

Stars and Galaxies
(3 units) Focus is on conceptual understanding of stars, galaxies, and the rudiments of cosmology. (AA, CSU, UC) 
Astronomy 200
Introduction to Astrophysics (3 units) Designed for students who want to take a course more advanced than the introductory survey courses in astronomy. This course covers the fundamentals of photometry, spectroscopy, and stellar astrophysics. Topics include study of pulsating and cataclysmic variable stars, contact binaries, and galactic cannibalism. Emphasis is on a thorough understanding of basic astrophysics. (AA, CSU)

Astronomy 203
Astroimaging Techniques (4 units) Hands on learning of various imaging techniques including astrophotography of galaxies and nebulae, spectroscopy, and photometry. (AA, CSU)

Astronomy 204
Application of Astroimaging Techniques (4 units) Application of techniques learned in ASTR 203 to gather data about celestial bodies. Topics investigated will include the use of spectroscopy to determine stellar composition and photometry to verify times of ingress and egress of transiting extrasolar planets. In addition, observatory control fundamentals will be emphasized and planned imaging runs will be an important component. (AA, CSU)

Astronomy 680-689
Selected Topics (1-3 units) Hours by arrangement. Selected topics not covered by regular catalog offerings. Course content and unit credit to be determined by the Mathematics & Science Division in relation to community-student need and/or available staff. May be offered as a seminar, lecture, or lecture/laboratory class. (CSU)
Astronomy 690
Special projects. (1 unit or 2 units) Special Projects (1-2) hours by arrangement. Prerequisite: 3.0 G.P.A. in subject field. Independent study in a specific field or topic, directed by an instructor and supervised by the Division Dean. Students are eligible to request approval of a special project only after successfully completing at least two college-level courses in the subject field. (Note: Students normally may receive credit for only one special project per semester.) (CSU)
Astronomy 880-889
Special topics not in the course offerings. (1-3 units) Selected Topics
(1-3) hours by arrangement. Nontransferable course. Selected topics not covered by regular catalog offerings. Course content and unit credit to be determined by the Mathematics & Science Division in relation to community-student need and/or available staff. May be offered as a seminar, lecture, or lecture/laboratory class.