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Overview

If you've always got your head in the clouds, Astronomy could be the major for you. Astronomers seek to understand how the universe-the planets, stars and galaxies-have evolved and functioned over time. They therefore help shape our understanding of the physical world. How old is the Earth? What is a black hole? These are just some of the questions that astronomers have tried to answer. Equipped with the latest technology, astronomers are dependant entirely upon their ability to observe and record. Unlike other sciences, though, astronomers will never be able to come into direct contact with the objects they study. Instead, astronomers rely on a keen eye, very, very large telescopes, and some theoretical physics to help interpret all of the electromagnetic rays (and numerous other invisible forces) that continually bombard Earth.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • A basic curriculum in Astronomy is going to be heavily based in the sciences, so be prepared for a lot of math and physics. General courses Astronomy majors have to take include:

  • Astronomical Observations

  • Calculus and Analytic Geometry

  • Particles and Motion

  • Particles and Waves

  • Quantum Physics I and II

  • Solar System Astronomy

  • Statistical Physics

  • Stellar and Galactic Astronomy

  • Stellar Evolution or Cosmology

  • Theoretical Mechanics

  • Thermal Physics and Electrostatistics

  • Vector Analysis


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

Two words: math and science. Take as much and to as high a level as your school offers. This means at least geometry and trigonometry. Calculus will help a lot. As for science, absorb like a sponge all the chemistry and physics they throw at'cha. A good deal of computer experience will also prove extremely helpful.

GRADUATE PROGRAMS & CAREERS