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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy

Astronomy 206b - Introduction to Astrophysics II

Instructor: Professor Beth Willman
Meeting time: TuTh 10 - 11:30 am
Office: Strawbridge Observatory, 896-1201 (office hours to be announced)


Foundations of Astrophysics (2nd edition) by Ryden and Peterson, the same book used in Astro 205. This textbook, and some other supplementary textbooks, are held on reserve in the South wall of the Astronomy library.


Astronomy 205, or consent of instructor.

Course Description:

This is the second half of a year-long introduction to astrophysical topics. This course will provide a physically motivated, contemporary overview of the beginning to end of the universe and everything in-between. The framework we will develop is also a pre-requisite to the study of more advanced astronomical topics. When appropriate, we will enrich our study with material outside of our text, including research articles. By the end of this year-long course, you will have experience in both basic observational and computational astronomical techniques and the ability to read basic papers in the research literature.


In Astronomy 205, observational astronomy projects acquaint you with basic observational techniques and analysis. To complement this observational experience, we will conduct two labs that will introduce you to computational techniques and analysis during the Spring semester.

Coursework and attendance:

The grading breakdown will be: homework (35%), labs (15%), exams (40%), participation (10%). Homework assignments will be due at the beginning of class, roughly every other week for a total of 5 over the course of the semester. Late work will be penalized by 10% for each day it is late (excluding weekends). There will be a midterm and a final exam. "Participation" is broadly defined and includes attendance, completing reading assignments, engagement during lectures, quality of homework effort. Class attendance is mandatory.