Classes

  • Physics 391: Introductory Astronomy
  • Physics 392: Special Topics in Astronomy
  • Physics 393: Advanced Astronomy Methods
  • The MacKenty Prize in Astronomy

Physics 391: Introductory Astronomy

This introductory course emphasizes introductory observational aspects of astronomy. Topics include the relationship between the earth and the sky, short term and long term cycles in the celestial sphere, the exploration of the solar system, light, telescopes, and stellar evolution cycles. Practical work is done at Grainger Observatory, located on the Exeter campus. Students use a variety of telescopes at the Observatory to make their own observations and measurements. Prerequisite: One year of physics or chemistry. Open to uppers and seniors (Lowers with departmental permission). Offered: Fall, Winter and Spring Terms.

Physics 392: Special Topics in Astronomy

This course examines selected topics of special interest in astronomy and astrophysics, including: telescopes and electronic imaging equipment, multifrequency analysis of deep sky imagery, the study of open clusters, nebulae, and solar system objects. Students use the full range of equipment at Grainger Observatory, located on the Exeter campus, and pursue independent projects throughout the term. Prerequisite: PHY391. Open to uppers and seniors (Lowers with departmental permission). Offered: Winter Term.

Physics 393: Advanced Astronomy Methods

This course emphasizes the practical and computational skills used to make precise measurements of astronomical phenomena with the goal of understanding the scale of the universe. Topics include: the interstellar medium, Cepheid variables, mapping the Milky Way, advanced stellar photometry and spectroscopy, and the cosmic distance ladder. Students work at Grainger Observatory, located on the Exeter campus, pursue independent projects throughout the term, and study the work in progress at other observatories and research centers. Prerequisite: PHY391. Open to uppers and seniors (Lowers with departmental permission). Offered: Spring Term.

The MacKenty Prize in Astronomy

The MacKenty prize, established in 1990, is awarded each year to the senior who has made significant contributions to the study of astronomy. The award is announced at the Prize Day assembly and is usually in the form of a book. While the manner in which they have chosen to contribute has varied, most of these students have been involved in proctoring at the observatory or making an outstanding contribution to the astronomy classes or making the Astronomy Club active. Some have had long standing service (2 years is not uncommon) and some haven't had quite as long but have been impressive in their stays.