Astronomy is an active field of study at Luther College within the Physics Department. Our facilities include the Emil C. Miller Planetarium and a six-telescope observing deck atop Valders Hall of Science.
Though Luther College does not have an astronomy major, it is possible to major in physics with supporting astrophysics courses and research experience.
Students 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 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.
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.
To learn more about General Astronomy at Luther, take a look at the General Astronomy course syllabus.
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.
To learn more about Introduction to Astrophysics at Luther, take a look at the Astrophysics course syllabus.