Astronomy 45 Course Notes

Preface and Acknowledgments

Astronomy 45 at Harvard University, in its current instantiation, was split off from Astronomy 145, a course which had accumulated too much material to cover in a single semester, and too much advanced material to be suitable for (e.g.) sophomores. The subject matter of the new Astronomy 45 was defined to be "all the astrophysics that can be done without quantum mechanics", i.e., without requiring Physics 143 as a prerequisite.

The new course was first offered in 1990-91 by Mark Birkinshaw, using course notes that he had developed for (the relevant parts of) the previous Astronomy 145. These, in turn, were based strongly on a beautiful set of lecture notes developed over a number of years by George Rybicki, and also incorporated some material developed by John Huchra.

Astronomy 45 was taught by Birkinshaw again in 1991-92, by Christopher Kochanek in 1992-93 and 1993-94, and by William Press in 1993-94 and 1994-95. All of these instructors have had the benefit of their predecessors' notes, and all have modified, subtracted from, and added to the material of these notes. The authorship of any given section in this version, other than corporately by the people already named, is therefore at best a matter of speculation. Rybicki and Birkinshaw are clearly the major contributors. The present instructor (Press) has written (or rewritten from scratch) about a third of the total material.

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