Friday, April 15, 2011

Astronomy at UVa

Growing up, I'm sure that everyone has been fascinated by the night sky. Stars, constellations, universes... there is so much out there that we don't know about. I wouldn't say that I'm interested in pursuing a career or anything in astronomy, but one of the most impressive departments at UVa, in my opinion, is the Astronomy department.

First of all, there are many great astronomy courses that are very popular, such as these:
ASTR 1210 - Introduction to the Sky and Solar System
ASTR 1220 - Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
*These two classes are the foundation classes of astronomy!
ASTR 1230 - Introduction to Astronomical Observation
*This class teaches you the history of observational techniques and using them in general.
ASTR 2110 - Introduction to Astrophysics I
*Astronomy is really a lot of physics... the science side of things.
Personally, I have only taken ASTR 1230 and it is a great class. Although having to clear your whole schedule for nights that you might be able to observe on, it is a lab based class where you do a lot of hands-on observing outside of the once-a-week lecture.

Another really neat thing is the McCormick Observatory. Sitting atop Observatory Hill, the McCormick Observatory was built in 1884. At the time it was built, it was the equal largest telescope in the United States. Having gone through more than a decade, it is not used for science anymore, but it is still open! Public nights at the observatory are great. On public nights, anyone can come visit the observatory and observe stars and planets through the telescope, and the people that run the public nights will even give you little lessons about research work done there and history of observatories. The observatory even has museum exhibits. Don't hesitate to visit, it is well worth it. The McCormick Observatory is open on the first and third Friday night of each month for two hours.

So whether you just love star gazing or have genuine interests in perusing some sort of field of astronomy, it is really worth check out these classes and going to the observatory.

1 comment:

  1. ASTR 1210 is one of the best classes I have taken at UVA--future Hoos, consider taking it!