Luther College does not have an astronomy major; however, it is possible to major in physics with supporting astrophysics courses and research experience. Students who are interested in studying astrophysics or astronomy are encouraged to major in physics and take the astrophysics and perhaps the astronomy course. It is also possible for the students to take independent study courses with the faculty to further the astrophysics emphasis. Along with independent courses, it is recommended that the student participate in research (either at Luther College or another institution). This research can be done during the summer or during the school year depending on when it best fits into the student's (and advising professor's) schedule.
This course is designed to develop an understanding and appreciation of our larger environment, the physical universe: planets, stars, galaxies, and space. Instruments and methods used in astronomical investigations and recent developments are also discussed. The Emil C. Miller Planetarium is used throughout the course. Occasional evening observation periods using both naked eye and the telescopes are also used in the course.This course is taught every fall. Recent course syllabus.
Introduction to Astrophysics
This is a general, intermediate course on the physics of astronomical objects. It includes an introduction to descriptive astronomy, the interstellar medium, structure, and evolution of stars. Students will then move on to study pulsars, nebulae and black holes; along with galactic structure and evolution. An introduction to cosmology and evolution of the universe round out the material covered in this course. This course is taught regularly. Recent course syllabus.
Image of a faint meteor trail from the 2002 Leonid shower. The meteor trail is the light line running from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. In this negative print, the black spots are stars. This image was acquired with a 12” Meade LX200 telescope and an Apogee A6E CCD camera using an f3.3 focal reducer. This image was taken as part of an astrophysics class project during the fall of 2002.