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New Mexico State University
Undergraduate Catalog


ASTR 105G. The Planets - 4 cr. (3+2P)
Comparative study of the planets, moons, comets, and asteroids which comprise the solar system. Emphasis on geological and physical processes which shape the surfaces and atmospheres of the planets. Laboratory exercises include analysis of images returned by spacecraft. Intended for non-science majors, but some basic math required. This lecture/lab course satisfies the New Mexico Common Core Area III: Lab Sciences requirement
ASTR 110G. Introduction to Astronomy - 4 cr. (3+2P)
A survey of the universe. Observations, theories, and methods of modern astronomy. Topics include planets, stars and stellar systems, black holes and neutron stars, supernovas and gaseous nebulae, galaxies and quasars, and cosmology. Emphasis on physical principles involving gravity, light and optics (telescopes). Generally non-mathematical. Laboratory involves use of the campus observatory and exercises designed to experimentally illustrate principles of astronomy. This lecture/lab course satisfies the New Mexico Common Core Area III: Lab Sciences requirement.
ASTR 210. The Search for Extraterrestrial Life - 3 cr.
Recent discoveries concerning life within the Solar System are discussed and generalized to other star systems. Current space travel and interstellar communication efforts are reviewed.
ASTR 301V. Revolutionary Ideas in Science - 3 cr.
Examines fundamental scientific revolutions that have shaped our view of Earth and the universe. Topics range from biology to geology to astronomy and provide the perspective necessary to evaluate scientific issues in current public policy debates. Includes in-class debates. Prerequisite: any general education science course.
ASTR 305V. The Search for Life in the Universe - 3 cr.
Use of information from several of the sciences to explore the likelihood that life exists elsewhere in the universe. Subjects include an overview of historical ideas about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, the chemistry and biology of life on Earth, recent explorations for life within our solar system, and current search strategies for life in the universe and their scientific basis.
ASTR 308V. Into the Final Frontier - 3 cr.
Exploration of space: a brief review of the history of space flight, the Apollo program, joint U.S.-Soviet space missions, and unstaffed exploration of the planets. Emphasis on knowledge gained through these efforts. Includes new space initiatives. Same as HON 308V.
ASTR 330V. Planetary Exploration - 3 cr.
A current planetary exploration mission is studied within the context of the solar system. The data acquired and principles involved in executing the mission, as well as political and economic implications of planetary exploration, are examined. Same as HON 330V. Main campus only
ASTR 400. Undergraduate Research - 1-3 cr.
Supervised individual study or research. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.
ASTR 401. Topics in Modern Astrophysics - 3 cr.
This course is designed for students interested in astrophysics who have some background in math and physics and want to learn about basic astrophysics and interesting current topics. The course will cover basic astrophysical concepts such as orbital mechanics, light, and radiative processes and transfer. These concepts will be applied to the discussion of exciting modern topics involving planets, exoplanets, stars, galaxies, and/or cosmology, with topical emphasis determined by the instructor. Prerequisite(s): MATH 192G and (PHYS 213 or PHYS 215G).
ASTR 402. Introduction to Astronomical Observations and Techniques - 3 cr.
Designed for students interested in astrophysics who have some background in math and astronomy and want to learn about techniques for obtaining and analyzing astronomical data. This course will review the properties of light and discuss the process of experimental design. The course will describe basic observational tools such as telescopes and detectors. It will discuss how data is obtained, and how features of the detector and the Earth's atmosphere can be corrected for. Some topics in basic astronomical data analysis will be discussed, with topical emphasis determined by the instructor. Some simple data analysis projects will be assigned. Prerequisite(s): MATH 191G and (PHYS 214 or PHYS 216G) and (ASTR 105, ASTR 110, or ASTR 401).
ASTR 405. Astronomy and Astrophysics I - 3 cr.
Application of physical principles to problems in modern astronomy. Emphasis on radiation mechanisms and radiation transfer in astronomical systems. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. No S/U grading. Same as ASTR 505 with less advanced work.
ASTR 406. Astronomy and Astrophysics II - 3 cr.
Sequel to ASTR 405 with emphasis on basic dynamics and (magneto) hydrodynamics. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. No S/U grading. Same as ASTR 506 with less advanced work.
ASTR 435. Observational Techniques I - 3 cr.
Up-to-date introduction to modern observational astronomy. Includes computers, data analysis, optical telescopes, optical and infrared photometry, image processing, and detection. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. No S/U grading. Same as ASTR 535 with less advanced work.
ASTR 461. Astronomy for Teachers - 3 cr.
Illustration and presentation of concepts of astronomy in different subject areas to broaden teacher preparation for science education in public schools.