- Faculty and Staff List
J.B. Lester, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D.
L. Hirsch, Ph.D.
Room 4037, William G. Davis Bldg
Faculty Program Advisor
Room 4042, William G. Davis Bldg.
Academic Counsellor/Undergrad Program Administrator
Room 4061, William G. Davis Bldg.
Astronomy, of all the sciences, is perhaps the most wide-ranging in its content and in its implications. The study of astronomy covers vastly different orders of magnitude in scale - from physics at the scale of a single atom all the way to physics on the scale of the size of the universe itself. It embraces such fundamental topics as the origin of the planets and moons of the solar system, the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies, the earliest moments of the universe’s history, the behaviour of matter in environments never experienced on earth, the conditions for life on earth and elsewhere, and in general, the influence of the universe on humankind’s thinking throughout the ages. Astronomy is also one of the oldest and most universal scientific disciplines. Cultures around the world and throughout human history have constructed knowledge about the universe via observations of the night sky.
Modern astronomy research is conducted through observations with large telescopes on high mountaintops or even in space. These observatories give us access to photons emitted by objects both in our local galactic neighborhood and in extremely distant galaxies, which we try to understand in conjunction with theoretical physical models and large scale computer simulations. As such, astronomy is a highly interdisciplinary field, drawing in knowledge and techniques from physics, optics, mathematics, computer science, earth and atmospheric science, and statistics. Because of its breadth, it has always formed a valuable part of a general education. Students who focus on astronomy as a major or specialist will emerge from their studies with valuable and widely applicable skills in all of these subject areas.
Astronomy offers several courses of potential interest to every student at U of T Mississauga. Some courses are designed for students outside the sciences (AST101H5, AST201H5, AST115H5), some for students with some background in science (AST110H5, AST252H5), and some for students enrolled in an Astronomy major or Astronomical Sciences specialist program (AST221H5, AST222H5).
Non-science students may be interested in the following courses:
- AST101H5 - Exploring the Solar System - introduces students to the local environment of the solar system, from early naked-eye observations of the motions of the planets through to the development of modern telescopes and observatories - both on the ground and in space - and the discoveries they have yielded.
- AST201H5 - Exploring the Universe - surveys the structure and evolution of the stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole.
- AST115H5 - Cultural Astronomy - surveys astronomy from a historical and cultural perspective, framing scientific knowledge around the ways human cultures have interpreted observations of the night sky throughout history and around the world.
Students with some science background may be interested in the following courses:
- AST110H5 - Introduction to Astronomical Observations - provides an introduction to observing and analysis. This course is intended for students with some background in the sciences, as well as students planning to pursue the Astronomical Sciences specialist or Astronomy major programs.
- AST252H5 - Life in the Universe - is a unique interdisciplinary course that examines the broad topics of the origin and evolution of life in the universe - both life as we know it on Earth, and life as it might be on other planets and moons in the solar system and in exoplanetary systems. This course is intended for students who have some background in the sciences.
UTM also offers a Specialist program in Astronomical Sciences and a major program in Astronomy. Two introductory astrophysics courses intended for students in these programs are currently offered at UTM:
- AST221H5 - Introduction to Astrophysics I - focuses on stars and stellar systems - from their structure and energy generation mechanisms, to their evolution, to the planetary systems they host.
- AST222H5 - Introduction to Astrophysics II - expands outward to study the formation and evolution of galaxies and the universe, from the Big Bang through to today.
Students interested in either the Astronomical Sciences or the Astronomy program should consult the Astronomy faculty advisor at U of T Mississauga as early as possible in their first year. The faculty advisor can also provide information and advice about the astronomy courses and programs available on the St. George Campus.
Students should also review the Degree Requirements section prior to selecting courses
Program website: www.utm.utoronto.ca/cps/