Astronomy explores the planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. The Astronomy minor gives students an appreciation of the beauty of the universe and how astronomers have come to learn what we know.
Astronomy At A Glance
Of Astronomy minors have a class in Allegheny's planetarium.
Planetarium with full-dome digital projector
A path through the Astronomy minor
Explore the science behind cutting-edge astronomy. Along the way, you'll address questions like “What would it be like to travel to a black hole?” “What is the fate of the universe?” and “Is there other intelligent life?”
Although there are many ways to complete the Astronomy minor, many students take mathematics, an introductory physics course, or an introductory astronomy course in their first year. The math and physics courses provided the foundation for later courses, while the introductory astronomy course provides broad background knowledge.
Many astronomy minors take an introductory physics course in their second year, along with an elective course related to astronomy from within the departments of Geology, Philosophy, or Chemistry.
Depending on the year of graduation, a third-year astronomy minor will take an advanced course either on stars or on current topics in astrophysics. The former course allows for the exploration of stellar astrophysics: how stars form, live, and die, as well as how they create exotic objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.
Depending on the year of graduation, a fourth-year astronomy minor will take an advanced course either on stars or on current topics in astrophysics. The latter course focuses on galaxies and cosmology, and it explores topics such as the big bang and the fate of the universe.
Examples of what an astronomy minor learns to do
Apply mathematics and physics to interpret astronomical observations.
Understand objects within the universe in terms of their sizes, ages, distances, compositions, and evolution.
Discuss the stages of the stellar life, including the stellar graveyard of black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs.
Describe the astronomical evidence for dark matter and dark energy, and discuss their implications.
Describe the scientific evidence and models regarding the nature and origin of the Universe, including its evolution from the big bang up to today.
Appreciate the discovery of many other planetary systems and the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.
Appreciate gravitational wave physics as a new way to observe the universe.
Diptajyoti Mukherjee, Alumnus
Class of 2019; Graduate Student in Astrophysics at Carnegie Mellon University
“ In a small environment, you get a lot of attention from your professors and connect well with your peers. The professors are very approachable. The fact that you can work with your professors in a research environment while you’re a freshman or a sophomore makes Allegheny stand out. ”