Contact Information

Astronomy Department
96 Foss Hill Drive
Van Vleck Observatory 101
Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT 06459

(860) 685-3669 (office)
(860) 685-2131 (fax)


ASTR105: Descriptive Astronomy
   This course unveils the universe and how we have come to understand our place in it. We will touch on a full range of astronomical topics, including the mechanics of our solar system, the discovery of planets around other nearby stars, the stellar life cycle, the formation and evolution of galaxies, the big bang, and the ultimate fate of the universe.

ASTR155: Introductory Astronomy
   The fundamentals of planetary, stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astronomy will be covered. This course serves as an introduction to the subject for potential majors and as a survey for nonmajors who have a good high school preparation in math and science. We will cover selected topics within the solar system, galaxy, local universe, and cosmology, including the big bang theory of the origin of the universe and the discovery of planets around other stars.

ASTR221/521: Galactic Astronomy
   The fundamentals of astrophysics are applied to the galaxy and objects therein. Topics include the interstellar medium, stellar populations, galactic structure, formation, and evolution.

ASTR224/524: Exoplanets: Formation, Detection, and Characterization
   Our ability to place the Earth into a cosmic context dramatically improved in the last decades with the discovery of planets around other stars (exoplanets). The study of exoplanets has quickly become a dominant field in astronomy. This course will focus on the fundamentals of exoplanet formation, detection, and characterization (interiors and atmospheres) based on astronomical observables. We will also discuss the assessment of habitability for Earth-like exoplanets and the prospects for the detection of biosignatures.

ASTR231/531: Stellar Structure and Evolution
   Most of the visible matter in the galaxy is in the form of stars. It is important, therefore, to understand their structure and their evolution. Fortunately, we have a fairly well-developed and tested theory of stellar structure covering both their interiors and atmospheres. In this course, we will provide an introduction to that theory and examine its key results, including a basic description of how stars evolve.

ASTR430: Seminar on Astronomical Pedagogy
   Methods for effectively teaching astronomy at all levels from general public outreach to college level will be discussed.

ASTR431: Research Discussions in Astronomy
   Current research topics in astronomy will be presented and discussed by astronomy staff and students.

ASTR555: Planetary Science Seminar
   This course will examine topics and methods in the interdisciplinary field of planetary science. Students will join several faculty members in the planetary science group to discuss the origin, evolution, and habitability of planets in this and other solar systems. This class is intended for graduate students who are pursuing or mean to pursue the planetary science concentration. Other graduate and undergraduate students may request admission to the course.

Course History:

Year Fall Spring
2015-2016          224/524, 431, 555
2014-2015          155 105, 555
2013-2014          231/531 105-01, 105-02
2012-2013          105
2011-2012          155 224/524, 431
2010-2011 221/521, 430          105-01, 105-02
2009-2010 155, 430 231/531, 431         
2008-2009 105, 431