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Graduate Astronomy Courses

The Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative supports capacity development in the teaching of astronomy courses at the post-secondary level by offering a series of six graduate level astronomy courses across the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019.  

In summer of 2017, two courses will be offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Appalachian State University: 

AST 5530, Observational Astronomy (3 cr.), Dr. Daniel Caton

A study of the operation of astronomical instruments and the acquisition and analysis of astronomical data. Topics to be covered will include: telescopes, instruments, and their operation. Also included will be time and coordinate systems and the planning of observations. The laboratory portion will be carried out at the campus observatory.

Lecture: TWR, 11:00am - 12:05pm

Lab: TR 08:30pm - 11:45pm



AST 5531, Astrophysics (3 cr.), Dr. Richard Gray

A study of the physical processes involved in stars, nebulae, and the interstellar medium. Special focus on the interaction of light and matter, nucleosynthesis, stellar structure/evolution, and spectral line formation.

Lecture: MTWR 01:00pm - 03:30pm


All classes run from June 5 - 30, 2017.

If you are interested in registering for these courses, you will need to apply as a nondegree seeking student for the summer of 2017 and apply through the Graduate School.  A link to information on preparing your application can be found here.  Information on summer course tuition rates and more can be found at this site.

Participants are eligible to apply for housing on the campus of Appalachian State University.  For more information about the coursework or program registration, please contact Dr. Michael Briley at  For more information about the housing aspects, please contact Dr. Tracie McLemore Salinas at