Astronomy Program
Physics Department

Moon phase, courtesy of http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/
Current Phase of the Moon

Local Time:
Universal Time:
12-inch telescope, Boyden Hall Observatory


Instructor images page
The NJIT Physics Department now has an undergraduate minor and a concentration in Astronomy, and has enhanced the astronomy offerings for both technical and non-technical students.  The department houses the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research (CSTR), and includes a growing number of professorial and instructional staff in astronomy and solar physics. The CSTR operates two major solar observatories, Big Bear Solar Observatory and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Solar Array (see below).  The Astronomy courses can be taken 
  • to fulfill physics/science electives for those with a passing interest in learning more about the Universe
  • as a minor for those science/technical majors in other departments with a deeper interest
  • as a concentration for those Physics majors or double majors with a specific or professional interest in Astronomy. 
The curriculum is taught by knowledgeable faculty doing professional astronomical research.  Classroom instruction includes on-line resources on the internet.  Every course includes opportunities for observing with the Rutgers/Newark observatory, which is equipped with a brand-new, computer-controlled, 12-inch cassegrain telescope, a CCD camera, and four 8" portable telescopes.  The observational astronomy course, Phys 322, involves extensive use of this equipment.


Faculty in Astronomy:

Philip Goode - Distinguished Professor, Director Big Bear Solar Observatory
Dale E. Gary - Professor, Director, OVRO Solar Array
Haimin Wang - Distinguished Professor, Assoc. Director, Big Bear Solar Observatory
Andrew Gerrard - Associate Professor, Physics

Wenda Cao - Assistant Professor, Physics
Slawomir Piatek - Research Professor, Physics
Libby Maljian - Special Lecturer, Physics
Moses Fayngold - Special Lecturer, Physics


Undergraduate Courses:


Introductory courses for non-science majors

Phys 202
Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology
A non-mathematical presentation of contemporary views of the origin, evolution, and structure of the solar system, stars, galaxies  and the universe.  Special topics include neutron stars, black holes, gravitationally strange objects, and the "big bang."
Phys 202A
Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology Laboratory
The optional laboratory course associated with Phys 202.
Phys 203
The Earth in Space
Introduces students to fundamental phenomena, such as plate tectonics, erosion, volcanism, glaciation, etc.  Will study the interaction between the Earth's four major reservoirs - atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and solid earth; will investigate the dependence of the Earth on the Sun; will study the affect of the Moon on the Earth.  Knowledge gained from studying the Earth will then be extended to other planets in our solar system.
Phys 203A
The Earth in Space Laboratory
The optional laboratory course associated with Phys 203.

Upper-level courses for science/technical majors:

Phys 320
Astronomy and Astrophysics I
A quantitative introduction to the astronomy of the Sun, Earth, and the solar system, with an emphasis on the physical principles involved.  Includes celestial mechanics, planetary atmospheres, and the physics of comets, asteroids, and meteorites.
Phys 321
Astronomy and Astrophysics II
A quantitative introduction to the astronomy of the stars, the galaxy, and cosmology, with an emphasis on the physical principles involved.  Includes stellar interiors, stellar evolution, galactic dynamics, large-scale structure and early history of the universe.
Phys 322
Observational Astronomy
Students will spend most of their time in an observatory performing observations of celestial objects such as the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, stellar clusters, and galaxies.  Experimental projects include charting the skies, asterophotography (film and CCD), measuring masses of planets, rotational period of the Sun, topography of the Moon, H-R diagrams of stellar clusters, etc.
Phys 420
Special Relativity
Prerequisites: Phys 234 or by permission of the instructor. An introduction to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity at the advanced undergraduate level. Topics include invariance of the speed of light, relativity of time and space, the Lorentz transformations, space-time diagrams, the twin paradox and time travel, relativistic mechanics, rotating reference frames, laser gyroscopes, superluminal motion, phase and group velocities, and applications in high-energy physics, relativistic engineering, nuclear physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.
Phys 421
General Relativity
Prerequisites: Phys 234 or by permission of the instructor. An introduction to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity at the advanced undergraduate level. Topics include review of Newton's Theory of Gravitation, review of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, tensor calculus on both flat and curved manifolds, the covariant derivative, curvature, Einstein's Gravitational Field Equations, the weak-field limit, gravitational radiation, the black hole solution, Hawking radiation, the No-Hair Theorem, cosmology, and a history of the Universe.
Phys 444
Fluid and Plasma Dynamics
This course will introduce the basics of plasma physics.  It will cover the following topics: Plasma parameters, single particle motions, plasma as fluid, waves, diffusion and resistivity, equilibrium and instability, kinetic theory, nonlinear effects.  Applications in three areas: controlled fusion, astrophysics, and interaction between light and plasma.

Astronomical Equipment Available for Student Use

Computer-controlled 12" Meade LX200, with CCD camera
Boyden Hall Observatory, Rutgers/Newark
Celestron 8" portable telescopes


Astronomical Facilities Operated by NJIT
 
Big Bear Solar Observatory
Owens Valley Radio Obs. Solar Array

Author: Dale E. Gary 30 Aug 2007