Astronomy


Faculty and Staff List

Professors Emeriti
J.B. Lester, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Professors
M. L. Bryan, Ph.D
L. Hirsch, Ph.D.

Chair
Lindsay Schoenbohm
Room 4037, William G. Davis Bldg.
905-569-4400
cpschair.utm@utoronto.ca

Program Faculty Advisor
Marta Bryan
Room 4052, William G. Davis Bldg.
marta.bryan@utoronto.ca

Academic Counsellor/Undergrad Program Administrator
Christina Fortes
Room 4061, William G. Davis Bldg.
905-828-5351
christina.fortes@utoronto.ca

 

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 websitewww.utm.utoronto.ca/cps/

 

UTM Co-op Internship Program

The UTM Co-op Internship Program (UTMCIP) stream is available to eligible students enrolled in the Astronomical Sciences Specialist program. Enrolment is limited and requires a supplemental application. Students enrolled in the UTMCIP stream will be required to complete mandatory Work-Readiness programming plus a 12- or 16-month term of paid, full-time work experience. The time to degree completion for students enrolled in UTMCIP will normally be 5 years. There is an additional cost to participate in the UTMCIP stream.

Enrolment in the UTMCIP stream of the CPS Specialist programs is limited. Students will be eligible to apply to UTMCIP streams after their first year of study and/or completion of at least 4.0 credits, in alignment with the program’s requirements, and no more than 6.0 credits in total. Successful applicants will be enrolled into the UTMCIP stream of their academic program in Year of Study 2.

Enrolment is open to domestic and international students. All international students must possess a valid work permit and Social Insurance Number (SIN) to participate in a work term.

Further details about UTMCIP, including eligibility requirements and application procedures, can be found here. Students may also visit the UTMCIP webpage.

Astronomy Programs

Astronomical Sciences - Specialist (Science)

Astronomical Sciences - Specialist (Science)

Enrolment Requirements:

Limited Enrolment — Enrolment in this program limited.

4.0 credits are required, including the following:

  1. MAT102H5
  2. ( MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or ( MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or ( MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5
  3. ( PHY146H5 and PHY147H5) strongly recommended or ( PHY136H5 and PHY137H5)
  4. ISP100H5

Enrolment in the UTMCIP stream of this program is limited to students who have completed 4.0 credits, including:

  1. AST110H5
  2. MAT102H5
  3. ( MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or ( MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or ( MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT135Y5 or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5
  4. MAT223H5 or MAT240H5
  5. ( PHY136H5 and PHY137H5) or ( PHY146H5 and PHY147H5)
  6. ISP100H5

Students who have achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 are encouraged to apply. Students must be in good standing with no outstanding academic integrity cases.

Completion Requirements:

14.0 credits are required.

First Year:

  1. MAT102H5
  2. ( MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or ( MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or ( MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5
  3. MAT223H5 or MAT240H5
  4. ( PHY146H5 and PHY147H5) strongly recommended or ( PHY136H5 and PHY137H5)
  5. ISP100H5

Second Year:

  1. AST221H5 and AST222H5
  2. MAT232H5 or MAT233H5
  3. MAT236H5 and MAT244H5
  4. PHY241H5 and PHY245H5
  5. PHY242H5 or JCP221H5

Third Year:

  1. AST320H5
  2. AST325H5
  3. JCP265H5 or CSC108H5
  4. JCP321H5 and JCP322H5
  5. MAT311H5
  6. PHY343H5
  7. 0.5 credit from PHY347H5 or PHY351H5 or PHY451H5 or JCP421H5 or MAT334H5 or MAT224H5 or MAT332H5 or MAT307H5 or STA220H5 or STA256H5 or JPE395H1 or PHY392H1 or PHY483H1 or other upper year course by approval of the faculty advisor

Fourth Year:

  1. AST399Y5 or CPS489Y5 or AST425Y1
  2. 1.5 credits from PHY347H5 or PHY351H5 or PHY451H5 or JCP421H5 or MAT334H5 or MAT224H5 or MAT332H5 or MAT307H5 or STA220H5 or STA256H5 or JPE395H1 or PHY392H1 or PHY483H1 or other upper year course by approval of the faculty advisor

Note:

1. Students who have completed PHY136H5 and PHY137H5 should speak with the Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences Academic Counsellor.


ERSPE1025

Astronomy - Major (Science)

Astronomy - Major (Science)

Enrolment Requirements:

Limited Enrolment — Enrolment in this program limited.

4.0 credits are required, including the following:

  1. MAT102H5
  2. ( MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or ( MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or ( MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5
  3. ( PHY146H5 and PHY147H5) strongly recommended or ( PHY136H5 and PHY137H5)
  4. ISP100H5

Completion Requirements:

9.5 credits are required.

First Year:

  1. MAT102H5
  2. ( MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or ( MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or ( MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5
  3. MAT223H5 or MAT240H5
  4. ( PHY146H5 and PHY147H5) strongly recommended or ( PHY136H5 and PHY137H5)
  5. ISP100H5

Second Year:

  1. AST221H5 and AST222H5
  2. MAT244H5 and MAT236H5
  3. MAT232H5 or MAT233H5
  4. PHY241H5 and PHY245H5
  5. PHY242H5 or JCP221H5

Higher Years:

  1. AST320H5
  2. AST325H5
  3. JCP321H5
  4. JCP322H5 or JCP421H5 or MAT224H5 or MAT307H5 or MAT332H5 or MAT334H5 or PHY347H5 or PHY351H5 or PHY451H5 or STA220H5 or STA256H5 or JPE395H1 or PHY392H1 or PHY483H1

ERMAJ2204

Astronomy Courses

AST101H5 • Exploring the Solar System

This course explores Earth's local family, consisting of two types of major planets, newly identified dwarf planets, many moons orbiting the planets, and millions of smaller objects such as comets and meteoroids. This course examines how these groups are similar and different, how the solar system formed, and how our solar system compares to the systems of other stars.

Exclusions: AST101H1 or AST121H1 or AST221H1 or ASTA01H3

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST110H5 • Night Sky Observing

This course gives a practical introduction to astronomical observations of the night sky, concentrating on objects that can be seen with the naked eye or with small telescopes. Students will learn to identify objects in the night sky, the properties and designs of small and large telescopes, and to plan and implement astrophotography and observing projects from their backyard.

Recommended Preparation: SPH4U and MHF4U and MCV4U

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST115H5 • Cultural Astronomy

This course will explore the historic and ongoing relationship between astronomy and human culture. In this course, students will approach astronomical concepts through the lens of archaeoastronomy – the exploration of astronomical practices in ancient cultures, and ethnoastronomy – the study of modern astronomical practices by cultures around the world. Topics will include cultural interpretations of the motions of the stars, planets, moon, and sun, methods of navigation and timekeeping, puzzles that have inspired important shifts in our understanding of the Universe, and varying cultural conceptions of what science is and how it is done.

Exclusions: AST101H5 or AST101H1 or AST215H5 or AST210H1 or ASTB03H3

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: Online, In Class, Hybrid

AST201H5 • Exploring the Universe

The Universe extends from the Sun to the most distant regions we can observe. This course explores our Sun, the other stars, the Milky Way galaxy in which our Sun lives, other galaxies that are far outside our Milky Way, and the most distant objects we can observe. In addition, the course presents evidence that everything we observe is just a small fraction of what exists in the Universe. The course content considers how the Universe began and evolved over time and the possibility of life beyond Earth.

Exclusions: AST121H1 or AST201H1 or AST210H1 or AST221H1 or AST222H1 or ASTA02H3 or ASTB23H3

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: Online, In Class, Hybrid

AST221H5 • Astrophysics I – Planets, Sun and Stars

This course explores the astrophysics of planets, Sun and stars, including their observed variety, structure, formation and evolution.

Prerequisites: [MAT135H5 and MAT136H5) or (MAT137H5 and MAT139H5) or (MAT157H5 and MAT159H5) or MAT137Y5 or MAT157Y5] and [PHY146H5 and PHY147H5 (Exceptions for PHY136H5 and PHY137H5 may be made with consultation of the course instructor)].
Exclusions: AST221H1

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST222H5 • Astrophysics II – Stellar Systems, Galaxies and the Universe

This course explores the astrophysics of the Milky Way, other galaxies, and the Universe.

Prerequisites: AST221H5
Exclusions: AST222H1

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST252H5 • Life in the Universe

This course addresses the question of life beyond Earth. Starting with our current understanding of how life began and evolved on Earth, the course explores possibility that life might have developed elsewhere in the Universe. It summarizes the evidence that the conditions necessary for life might exist today or existed in the past on other planets in our solar system. This search for evidence of life is then extended to the thousands of planets that have been discovered orbiting other stars.

Exclusions: AST251H1

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: Online, In Class, Hybrid

AST299Y5 • Research Opportunity Program

This courses provides a richly rewarding opportunity for students in their second year to work in the research project of a professor in return for 299Y course credit. Students enrolled have an opportunity to become involved in original research, learn research methods and share in the excitement and discovery of acquiring new knowledge. Participating faculty members post their project descriptions for the following summer and fall/winter sessions in early February and students are invited to apply in early March. See Experiential and International Opportunities for more details.


Course Experience: University-Based Experience
Distribution Requirement: Science
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST320H5 • Astrophysics III – Unsolved Problems in Astrophysics

This course explores the formation, equilibrium, and evolution of structure on various astronomical scales through the investigation of major open questions in modern astrophysics. Topics may include exoplanet formation and evolution, supermassive black holes, the progenitors of type Ia supernovae, galaxy evolution, and the nature of dark matter.

Prerequisites: AST222H5
Exclusions: AST320H1

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST325H5 • Observational Astronomy

This course will guide students to develop the core skills to collect, reduce, and interpret astronomical data. Through a series of projects and observing labs, students will develop their skillset for the usage of telescopes, instruments, and detectors; reduction and statistical analysis methods; simulations and model fitting; and data and error analysis.

Prerequisites: AST221H5 and AST222H5
Exclusions: AST325H1 or AST326Y1

Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 36L
Mode of Delivery: In Class

AST399Y5 • Research Opportunity Program

This course provides third-year undergraduate students (after completing at least 9.0 credits) who have developed some knowledge of astronomical research with an opportunity to assist in a research project of a professor in return for course credit. Students enrolled in this course have the opportunity to enhance their research skills and share in the excitement of acquiring new knowledge and in the discovery process of science. Participating faculty members post their project descriptions for the following summer and fall/winter sessions in early February, and students are invited to apply in early March. See Experiential and International Opportunities for more details.


Course Experience: University-Based Experience
Distribution Requirement: Science
Mode of Delivery: In Class

CPS489Y5 • Introduction to Research in the Chemical and Physical Sciences

Students will work toward the completion of an experimental or theoretical research project in an area of study within the chemical and physical sciences, namely, astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences or physics. Projects will be based on current trends in research and students will work to complete their projects with guidance provided by a team of facilitators and faculty advisors consisting of course coordinators and a researcher from the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences. In addition to the rigorous development of research skills, the course will also provide students with training and practical experience in project management techniques and practical research, literary and communications skills development. CPS489Y5 requires submitting an application to the department Application forms may be found at http://uoft.me/cpsforms. Applications should be submitted to the CPS Undergraduate Assistant.

Prerequisites: (2.0 credits at the 300 level from BIO or CHM or JBC or JCP or ERS or ESS or PHY) and (1.0 credit from BIO206H5 or BIO314H5 or CHM372H5 or CHM373H5 or CHM394H5 or CHM395H5 or CHM396H5 or CHM397H5 or ERS201H5 or ERS202H5 or PHY324H5 or PHY347H5 or JCP321H5 or JCP322H5 or PHY325H5 or PHY332H5 or PHY333H5 or PHY343H5 or PHY351H5)
Exclusions: BIO400Y5 or BIO481Y5 or CBJ481Y5 or CHM489Y5 or ERS470Y5 or ERS471H5 or ERS472H5 or PHY489Y5 or BCH472Y1 or BCH473Y1 or CHM499Y1 or CSB497H1 or CSB498Y1 or CSB499Y1 or ESS491H1 or ESS492Y1 or MGY480Y1 or PHY478H1 or PHY479Y1 or BIOD98Y3 or CHMD90Y3 or CHMD91H3 or ESSD09H3 or ESSD10H3 or PSCD10H3

Course Experience: University-Based Experience
Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 240P
Mode of Delivery: In Class

JCB487Y5 • Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory

Students will work together as members of a multidisciplinary team toward the completion of an interdisciplinary experimental or theoretical research project. Teams will be comprised of at least three students, with representation from at least three areas of specialization, namely, astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences or physics. The interdisciplinary projects will be based on current trends in research and student teams will work to complete their projects with guidance provided by a team of faculty advisors from the Biology Department and the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences. In addition to the rigorous development of research skills, the course will also provide students with training and practical experience in project management techniques and teamwork skills development. JCB487Y5 requires submitting an application to the department before the end of June for Fall enrolment. Application forms may be found at http://uoft.me/cpsforms. Application should be submitted to the CPS Undergraduate Assistant. Registration on ACORN is also required.

Prerequisites: (2.0 credits at the 300 level from BIO or CHM or JBC or JCP or ERS or ESS(G) or PHY) and (1.0 credit from BIO206H5 or BIO314H5 or CHM372H5 or CHM373H5 or CHM394H5 or CHM395H5 or CHM396H5 or CHM397H5 or ERS201H5 or ERS202H5 or PHY324H5 or PHY347H5). Normally taken in 4th year. Students must obtain approval from the faculty member(s) who will serve as the supervisor(s) in advance of the start of the course.
Exclusions: BIO400Y5 or BIO481Y5 or CBJ481Y5 or CHM489Y5 or ERS470Y5 or ERS471H5 or ERS472H5 or PHY489Y5 or BCH472Y1 or BCH473Y1 or CHM499Y1 or CSB497H1 or CSB498Y1 or CSB499Y1 or ESS491H1 or ESS492Y1 or MGY480Y1 or PHY478H1 or PHY479Y1 or BIOD98Y3 or CHMD90Y3 or CHMD91H3 or ESSD09H3 or ESSD10H3 or PSCD10H3

Course Experience: University-Based Experience
Distribution Requirement: Science
Total Instructional Hours: 240P
Mode of Delivery: In Class

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