Astronomy Minor
Breadcrumb
 RIT /
 College of Science /
 Academics /
 Astronomy Minor
d14965d8139e4cc18b0cd1f48f2f998e  86063
Minor Advisor
Andrew Robinson, Director Astrophysical Sciences and Tech PhD Program
585‑475‑2726, axrsps@rit.edu
585‑475‑2726, axrsps@rit.edu
Overview
This minor provides students with an opportunity for additional study in astronomy in order to build a secondary area of expertise in support of their major or other areas of interest. It will provide students with a broad foundational background in astronomy in preparation for graduate studies in astronomy or astrophysics. The minor is interdisciplinary and offered jointly by the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.
Notes about this minor:
 Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
Curriculum
Course  

Prerequisites  
MATH181 
Projectbased Calculus I
This is the first in a twocourse sequence intended for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering. It emphasizes the understanding of concepts, and using them to solve physical problems. The course covers functions, limits, continuity, the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of the derivative, Riemann sums, definite integrals, and indefinite integrals.

MATH182 
Projectbased Calculus II
This is the second in a twocourse sequence intended for students majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering. It emphasizes the understanding of concepts, and using them to solve physical problems. The course covers techniques of integration including integration by parts, partial fractions, improper integrals, applications of integration, representing functions by infinite series, convergence and divergence of series, parametric curves, and polar coordinates.

PHYS211 
University Physics I
This is a course in calculusbased physics for science and engineering majors. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton's Laws, gravitation, work and energy, momentum and impulse, conservation laws, systems of particles, rotational motion, static equilibrium, mechanical oscillations and waves, and data presentation/analysis. The course is taught in a workshop format that integrates the material traditionally found in separate lecture and laboratory courses.

PHYS212 
University Physics II
This course is a continuation of PHYS211, University Physics I. Topics include electrostatics, Gauss' law, electric field and potential, capacitance, resistance, DC circuits, magnetic field, Ampere's law, inductance, and geometrical and physical optics. The course is taught in a lecture/workshop format that integrates the material traditionally found in separate lecture and laboratory courses.

PHYS213 
Modern Physics I
This course provides an introductory survey of elementary quantum physics, as well as basic relativistic dynamics. Topics include the photon, waveparticle duality, deBroglie waves, the Bohr model of the atom, the Schrodinger equation and wave mechanics, quantum description of the hydrogen atom, electron spin, and multielectron atoms.

Required Courses  
PHYS220 
University Astronomy
This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of astronomy and astrophysics for scientists and engineers. Topics include the celestial sphere, celestial mechanics, methods of data acquisition, planetary systems, stars and stellar systems, cosmology, and life in the universe.

Astrophysics  
Choose one of the following:  
PHYS370 
Stellar Astrophysics
This course presents concepts of stars and stellar systems at an intermediate level. Topics include the observed characteristics of stars, stellar atmospheres, stellar structure and evolution, interaction of stars with the interstellar medium, and the populations of stars within the Milky Way Galaxy.

PHYS371 
Galactic Astrophysics
This course describes the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way galaxy. It provides an overview of the major constituents of the Milky Way, their interactions, and the methods by which astronomers study them.

PHYS372 
Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology
This course provides a survey of the structure of the universe on the largest scales, including galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The course also provides an overview of the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the current day, and describes the observational evidence for our current values of the cosmological parameters.

Experimental  
Choose one of the following:  
IMGS461  Multiwavelength Astronomical Imaging 
IMGS528 
Design and Fabrication of Solid State Cameras
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with handson experience in building a CCD camera. The course provides the basics of CCD operation including an overview, CCD clocking, analog output circuitry, cooling, and evaluation criteria.

PHYS373 
Observational Astronomy
This course provides a practical, handson introduction to optical astronomy. Students will use the RIT Observatory's telescopes and CCD cameras to take images of celestial objects, reduce the data, and analyze the results. The course will emphasize the details of image processing required to remove instrumental effects from CCD images.

Electives  
Choose two of the following:  
IMGS361 
Image Processing and Computer Vision I
This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of digital image processing. The student will be exposed to image capture and image formation methodologies, sampling and quantization concepts, statistical descriptors and enhancement techniques based upon the image histogram, point processing, neighborhood processing, and global processing techniques based upon kernel operations and discrete convolution as well as the frequency domain equivalents, treatment of noise, geometrical operations for scale and rotation, and greylevel resampling techniques. Emphasis is placed on applications and efficient algorithmic implementation using the student's programming language of choice.

IMGS362 
Image Processing & Computer Vision II
This course is considers the more advanced concepts of digital image processing. The topics include image reconstruction, noise sources and techniques for noise removal, information theory, image compression, video compression, wavelet transformations, frequencydomain based applications, morphological operations, and modern digital image watermarking and steganography algorithms. Emphasis is placed on applications and efficient algorithmic implementation using the student’s computer programming language of choice, technical presentation, and technical writing.

IMGS451 
Imaging Detectors
This course provides an overview of the underlying physical concepts, designs, and characteristics of detectors used to sense electromagnetic radiation having wavelengths ranging from as short as Xrays to as long as millimeter radiation. The basic physical concepts common to many standard detector arrays will be reviewed. Some specific examples of detectors to be discussed include photomultipliers, micro channel plates, hybridized infrared arrays, positiveintrinsicnegative (PIN) detectors, and superconductorinsulatorsuperconductor (SIS) mixers. The use of detectors in fields such as astronomy, high energy physics, medical imaging and digital imaging will be discussed.

IMGS513 
Multiwavelength Astronomical Imaging
This course surveys multiwavelength astronomical observing techniques and instrumentation. Students will study the requirements, strengths, and limitations of telescopes, detectors, and instrumentation at major groundbased and spacebased observatories spanning the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to Xrays; learn how these facilities function; and gain an understanding of how to process and analyze the data they generate. Examples of facilities to be scrutinized include the largest groundbased observatories (e.g., Keck, Gemini, and the VLT); radio interferometers (e.g., the Very Large Array and the Atacama Large (sub)Millimeter Array); optical/IR space telescopes (e.g., the Spitzer, Hubble, and James Webb Space Telescopes); and Xray space telescopes (e.g., Chandra and XMMNewton). Students will plan and carry out a project involving archival multiwavelength imaging data on a topic of their choice.

IMGS528 
Design and Fabrication of Solid State Cameras
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with handson experience in building a CCD camera. The course provides the basics of CCD operation including an overview, CCD clocking, analog output circuitry, cooling, and evaluation criteria.

PHYS370 
Stellar Astrophysics
This course presents concepts of stars and stellar systems at an intermediate level. Topics include the observed characteristics of stars, stellar atmospheres, stellar structure and evolution, interaction of stars with the interstellar medium, and the populations of stars within the Milky Way Galaxy.

PHYS371 
Galactic Astrophysics
This course describes the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way galaxy. It provides an overview of the major constituents of the Milky Way, their interactions, and the methods by which astronomers study them.

PHYS372 
Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology
This course provides a survey of the structure of the universe on the largest scales, including galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The course also provides an overview of the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the current day, and describes the observational evidence for our current values of the cosmological parameters.

PHYS373 
Observational Astronomy
This course provides a practical, handson introduction to optical astronomy. Students will use the RIT Observatory's telescopes and CCD cameras to take images of celestial objects, reduce the data, and analyze the results. The course will emphasize the details of image processing required to remove instrumental effects from CCD images.

PHYS493 
Astrophysics Research
This course is a facultydirected student project or research involving observational or theoretical work in astrophysics that could be considered of an original nature.

* At least two courses must be taken at the 300level or higher.