Spring 2017

Special Topics in Astronomy: Solar Astronomy

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as ASTR-220

Moodle site: Course


Michael D. Stage (Section 01)


This course will explore humankind’s understanding of the sun throughout history, from archaeoastronomy to modern problems in solar astrophysics. Topics may include the alignment of ancient structures to solar and lunar motions, the importance of the sun in time-keeping, the study of sunspots, the development of the theory of the sun’s power source, the behavior of the solar magnetic field, the “neutrino problem” in twentieth century solar observations which led to changes in particle physics theory, and challenges of solar observing. The course will include an observing component outside of lecture, work with planetarium software, and discussion of historical work done by observers in the Five Colleges. Preference will be given to Amherst and Five College astronomy majors, then other Amherst physics/science majors, and finally by seniority.

Requisite: PHYS 117/124 or equivalent and one astronomy course. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Stage.

If Overenrolled: Preference in order of : Amherst and FCAD astronomy majors, Amherst physics, Amherst other science majors, then by seniority.


Attention to Research, Quantitative Reasoning


2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017