With the goal of understanding the physical processes that govern the universe, its constituents, and their origins and evolution, astronomy uses the apparatus and methodology of physics to gather and interpret data. Theoretical work and technology development round out astrophysics. Note, the terms "astronomy" and "astrophysics" are used interchangeably.
The astrophysics option is designed to give the student an understanding of the basic facts and concepts of astronomy today, to stimulate the student's interest in research, and to provide a basis for graduate work in astronomy or astrophysics. Student will gain as broad a background as possible in related fields of science and engineering.
Caltech students can also minor in Astrophysics. Many physics undergraduates do research and take classes in astrophysics, in particular via the astronomy minor.
Astrophysics Coursework at a Glance
Ay 124. Structure and Evolution of Galaxies. Stellar dynamics and properties of galaxies; instabilities; spiral and barred galaxies; tidal dynamics and galaxy mergers; stellar composition, masses, kinematics, and structure of galaxies; galactic archeology; galactic star formation; feedback from stars and super-massive black holes; circum-galactic medium.