Like most of the Rochester physics and astronomy faculty, Dan Watson teaches a wide variety of courses, from large non-science-major classes to tiny advanced graduate tutorials. Also like most of his colleagues, he develops and continuously redevelops a lot of electronic media for his courses. He strongly prefers to leave these materials publically accessible, though he often password-protects homework and exam solutions. If you are an instructor of similar classes and want access to the protected sections, just ask Dan.
Here are links to the most recent versions of his more-presentable course websites.
Animation by Robert Hurt (SSC)
Current or most recent
Astronomy 111: the Solar
system and its origins. Suitable for freshmen but taught at the
honors level, this course is an introduction to planetary surfaces, interiors
and atmospheres, celestial mechanics and planetary rings, asteroids
and comets, protoplanetary disks and planet formation, and
exoplanets. Includes nighttime observations with the
24-inch telescope at UR's Mees Observatory.
Astronomy 102: black
holes, time warps, and the large-scale structure of the Universe. A
course on relativity and relativistic astrophysics presented
minimally-mathematically, and aimed at non-science majors. All
homework and exams are administered on line, using the
Astronomy 106: the cosmic
origins of life. An account of the evolution of the Universe, the
Galaxy, the Solar system, and life and civilization on Earth. Aimed
primarily at non-science majors. All homework and exams are
administered on line, using the
Astronomy 142: elementary
astrophysics. A sophomore honors course on the physics of stars,
interstellar matter, galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the
Universe. Includes nighttime observations with the 24-inch telescope
at UR's Mees Observatory.
astronomical instruments and techniques. Intended for senior
undergraduates and beginning graduate students, this was an advanced
class in geometrical and physical optics, interferometry, detectors,
noise and the theory of light detection, all applied to astronomical
imaging and spectroscopy. It was popular at first, but as opportunities for
research in astronomical detectors and instrumentation dwindled in
the late 1990s, the course lost its audience, and is on the books
only as a reading course now.
Astronomy 241: stellar
astrophysics. A course for junior and senior physics and astronomy
majors in stellar atmospheres, interiors and evolution, including an
introduction to circumstellar accretion disks. Operates more like a
tutorial or workshop than a lecture- and textbook-based course, as
most of the work involves a great deal of mathematical exposition
and numerical simulation.
Astronomy 244/444: advanced
astrophysics laboratory. This is the astronomy-only version of our
Advanced Laboratory, in which challenging observing projects and
analyses are carried out using the 24-inch Cassegrain telescope, and
its research-grade instrument suite, at Mees Observatory.
Physics 122: electricity
and magnetism for science and engineering majors. Accent on the
engineering, in this case.
Physics 217: electricity
and magnetism I. The first semester of our junior-level E&M course
for physics and astronomy majors, mostly covering electrostatics and
Physics 218: electricity
and magnetism II. The second semester of our junior-level E&M course
for physics and astronomy majors, covering light, the interaction of
light with matter, and the physics of radiating charges, currents
and fields. Dan's favorite course.