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Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics

Course Summary

This course is based on ASTR 160 - Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics, Spring 2007 made available by Yale University: Open Yale under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.
This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.

This course is taught by Charles Bailyn who is Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale. His recent research efforts have focused on observations of binary star systems containing black holes and on stellar collisions in dense star clusters. He has lectured on "How To See a Black Hole" to school groups, Yale alumni, and amateur astronomical societies. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers, and his work was featured in the PBS mini-series, Mysteries of Deep Space.

Reading Material

1. Wormholes
Thorne, Kip S. "Wormholes." In Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.
2. Neptune's Discovery
Sheehan, William and Richard Baum. "Neptune's Discovery." Astronomy (September 1996) : 43-49.
3. In Pursuit of Vulcan
Fernie, J. Donald. "In Pursuit of Vulcan." American Scientist (82) : 412-415.

Course Material

1. Sample exam questions and answers
Midterm Exam 1
Midterm Exam 1 Solutions
Midterm Exam 2 Solutions

Other Resources

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