* JMU AGN-LAIR Group Members

* PhD Thesis

* Science with small telescopes: The Cat's Eye

* ChaMP



My work in the news
My work in the blogs




* Astr221: General Astronomy II: Stars, Interstellar Medium, Galaxies & Cosmology
* see "General Astronomy II FAXX" on Blackboard
* e.g., syllabus 2011
Course Objectives & Overview:

Astronomy 221 is an overview of modern astrophysics beyond our Solar System, picking up where Astronomy 220 left off. The course is divided into three interlinking parts that will review what astronomers have learned about the stars, the galaxies, and the Universe. We will examine how these ideas have been developed and tested against observations, and explore a few of the out- standing problems faced by current astronomical research. The questions to be addressed include: What are stars? Where do stars get their energy? What is the fate of the Sun and other stars? What are galaxies? What is the Big Bang model of the Universe? What is "Dark Matter?" What is the ultimate fate of the Universe?

This class includes a new series of laboratories devised as mini research projects; these activites should accentuate the skills acquired in Astr220, and thus provide the student with adequate grounding in astrophysical research, both observational or theoretical, and should thus allow to effectively participate in supervised research experiences with JMU astronomy faculty.

Here are some examples:
* Colors of Stars in the SDSS (like a Safari to grasp the meaning/physics of colors; investigation of correlations between measured/observed quantities and intrinsic properties of stars)
* Spectral Types of Stars (real SDSS spectra of stars, your own spectral classification, comparison with the OBAFGKM scheme)
* Hertzprung-Russell Diagrams & Applications (build your own HR diagram, then play with the main sequence fitting technique to determine cosmic distances)
* Studying the Galaxy with Globular Clusters (use a list of real data for globular clusters to learn about the distance to the galactic center, and the rotation speed of the Milky Way)
* The Fundamental Plane & The Large Scale Structure of the Unvierse (1. use measurements from Bender, Burstein, & Faber 1992, ApJ, 399, 462 to fit the fundamental plane relation for elliptical galaxies, calculate its dispersion, and compare to fits of plots involving only two parameters; 2. Use the 2nd Center for Astrophysics redshift catalog data to investigate how galaxies are spatially distributed in the universe)

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