Berkeley Astronomy 7B: Syllabus

Astronomy 7B

Introduction to Astrophysics (II)

Spring 2017

Instructor: Eugene Chiang
Office: Campbell Hall 605C
Phone: 701-5996 (email is preferable)
E-mail: echiang{at}

Class Time and Place:  Tue/Thur 11:00-12:30 in 131 Campbell

Graduate Student Instructors:
Discussion Sections:

Office Hours:

TALC = The Astronomy Learning Center:  This is a large, collaborative "office hour" where students work on their homework assignments in an informal, group setting.  TALC is staffed by GSIs who serve as guides, rather than tutors, in helping students with their homework problems. In addition to supervised group work, students may discuss difficulties in their conceptual understanding of lecture and reading topics with their peers and the GSIs.

TALC is held Wed 5:30-7:30 PM in Campbell Hall 131.

Historically, students who attend TALC regularly do better in the course. However, it is crucial that you actively participate in TALC, and not just copy or passively absorb the answers to HW questions from others. Towards this end, you must start the HW problems BEFORE you come to TALC.

Class Home Page:

Homeworks, solutions and other course material will be posted on the website regularly.

Text: Choose one (or both) of the following:

Optional Text:
  • THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE by Shu: Less mathematical than CO, though often conceptually more difficult. Portions are elegantly written.

Class Overview:   This course continues the survey of introductory astrophysics
                                begun in Astro 7A, emphasizing the application of basic physics to the
                                understanding of astronomical objects. We treat
                                interacting binaries; tides; accretion disks; black holes;
                                gravitational lensing; and galaxies. We conclude with cosmology:
                                the content and evolution of the universe at large.

                            Lecture topics (see below) will follow some of the text by RP and CO,
                            but will sometimes diverge. The presentation will differ
                            from the textbook.

Prerequisites:    Physics 7A & 7B (7B may be taken concurrently). 
                            This course uses calculus, vectors, and scientific
                            notation (10nx10m=10m+n). If you think you would
                            prefer a less mathematical introduction to astronomy,
                            consider taking Astro 10.


  • Homework:  40%
  • 2 Midterms:  15% each
  • Final:  30%
The Astronomy Department's Policy on Academic Misconduct is here.

Homework is due at 11:00 am Thursday starting Jan 26. It should be placed in the special boxes inside Campbell Hall, on the ground floor. The boxes will be marked Astro 7B with the appropriate sections. Do not place your homework in any of the other boxes which are for Astro 10. The homework will be picked up by the grader soon after 11:00 am Thursday. Late homework will not be accepted.

Write your name and section (and date & time) on each homework and please staple your sheets together.

Please start the homework questions yourself, independently of other students.
If, after serious effort, you remain unsure of how to proceed, you are welcome to discuss the homework with classmates or instructors. Under all circumstances, the answers must be written up individually.

If you miss an exam you will receive zero credit for that portion of the course grade.  No make-up exams will be given.  If you miss the final exam for a good and well-documented reason, your grade will be an Incomplete.

Exam Dates (midterms are held in class unless otherwise noted):

  • Midterm #1: Thursday Feb 23
  • Midterm #2: Thursday Apr 6
  • Final: TBA
  • You will be given a "cheat sheet" containing equations and physical constants for the exams.
Please let one of the instructors know immediately if you cannot attend one of the exams.
Last modified: Tue Aug 21 13:32:34 PDT 2012