Faculty List
  • P. Artymowicz, M.Sc. (Warsaw University), Ph.D. (N. Copernicus Astron. Center, Polish Academy of Sciences), Professor
  • J. Bayer Carpintero, B.Sc. (Los Andes, Bogota), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
  • C.C. Dyer, B.Sc. (Bishop's), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), Professor Emeritus
  • J.P. Lowman, B.Sc. (Toronto), M.Sc., Ph.D. (York, Canada), Professor
  • K. Menou, B.Sc. (Angers), M.Sc. (Toulouse), Ph.D. (Paris XI)  Associate Professor
  • H. Rein, M.A.St. (Cambridge), Ph.D. (Cambridge), Associate Professor
  • D. Valencia, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Harvard), Associate Professor
  • D. Weaver, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

For an updated list of Program Supervisors, please visit the Physics and Astrophysics website.
For more information, visit the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences website.

Astronomy is one of the oldest and at the same time also one of the most dynamic areas of science. It is the attempt to understand everything beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, from the solar system in which we find our direct and recent origins, to the largest distance scales in the universe typified by galaxies, cosmic voids, and the big bang. The past decades have seen startling discoveries, such as thousands of extrasolar planets, black holes, and gravitational waves. Those discoveries have given us both new understanding of the universe and made us more aware of the problems still facing us in attaining a deeper understanding. As more planets are discovered, there promises to be an even stronger collaborative effort with disciplines such as chemistry and biology to discover the possible origins of life. Astronomy is often a collaborative effort with disciplines such as high energy physics, chemistry, and biology. With new telescopes collecting more data than ever, computer science and data analysis are now important parts of almost every major astronomical discovery. 

The introductory courses ASTA01H3 and ASTA02H3 are at a level suitable for students without a mathematical background. In addition, the course ASTB03H3 is intended for students who have taken no previous astronomy, and covers the history of modern astronomy. It is intended to provide a historical perspective on modern astronomy, and by example, an introduction to the evolution of a number of modern scientific areas. For students wishing to further their study in astronomy, there are a number of higher-level courses, which are integral components of Major and Specialist programs in Physics and Astrophysics, and related areas. Refer to the Physics and Astrophysics section of the Calendar for details of these courses and programs.

Program Combination Restrictions

Programs in Astronomy, Physical Sciences, and Physics and Astrophysics cannot be combined.

Experiential Learning and Outreach

For a community-based experiential learning opportunity in your academic field of interest, consider the course CTLB03H3, which can be found in the Teaching and Learning section of the Calendar.

Astronomy Programs


Supervisor: D. Weaver (416-287-7248) Email:

Program Requirements
Students must complete 5.0 credits as follows:
PHYA10H3 Physics I for the Physical Sciences
PHYA21H3 Physics II for the Physical Sciences
MATA23H3 Linear Algebra I
MATA30H3 Calculus I for Physical Sciences
[MATA36H3 Calculus II for Physical Sciences or MATA37H3 Calculus II for Mathematical Sciences]
ASTB23H3 Astrophysics of Stars, Galaxies and the Universe
ASTC25H3 Astrophysics of Planetary Systems
MATB41H3 Techniques of the Calculus of Several Variables I
MATB42H3 Techniques of the Calculus of Several Variables II
any other AST C- or D-level course


Astronomy Courses

ASTA01H3 - Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics I: The Sun and Planets

The solar neighbourhood provides examples of astronomical bodies that can be studied by both ground-based and space vehicle based-observational instruments. The astronomical bodies studied range from cold and rocky planets and asteroids to extremely hot and massive bodies, as represented by the sun. This course considers astronomical bodies and their evolution, as well as basic parts of physics, chemistry, etc., required to observe them and understand their structure. The course is suitable for both science and non-science students.

Exclusion: AST101H
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

ASTA02H3 - Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics II: Beyond the Sun and Planets

The structure and evolution of stars and galaxies is considered, with our own galaxy, the Milky Way, providing the opportunity for detailed study of a well-observed system. Even this system challenges us with many unanswered questions, and the number of questions increases with further study of the universe and its large-scale character. Current models and methods of study of the universe will be considered. The course is suitable for both science and non-science students.

Exclusion: AST121H, AST201H
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

ASTB03H3 - Great Moments in Astronomy

An examination of the people, the background and the events associated with some major advances in astronomy.
Emphasis is given to the role of a few key individuals and to how their ideas have revolutionized our understanding of nature and the Universe. The perspective gained is used to assess current astronomical research and its impact on society.

Prerequisite: 4.0 full credits
Exclusion: AST210H
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

ASTB23H3 - Astrophysics of Stars, Galaxies and the Universe

Overview of astrophysics (except planetary astrophysics). Appropriate level for science students. Structure and evolution of stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars. Structure of Milky Way. Classification of galaxies. Potential theory, rotation curves, orbits, dark matter. Spiral patterns. Galaxy clusters. Mergers. Black holes in active galactic nuclei. Expansion of universe, dark energy.

Prerequisite: MATA30H3 and [MATA36H3 or MATA37H3] and PHYA21H3
Corequisite: MATB41H3
Exclusion: (ASTB21H3), (ASTC22H3), [AST221H and AST222H]
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

ASTC02H3 - Practical Astronomy: Instrumentation and Data Analysis

A hands-on introduction to astronomical observing using the UTSC telescope. Lectures cover topics of astronomical instrumentation and data reduction. Observations of Solar System planets, moons, planetary nebula, globular clusters and galaxies will be made. Students will present their results in the style of a scientific paper and a talk.

Prerequisite: ASTB23H3
Exclusion: AST325H, AST326Y
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

ASTC25H3 - Astrophysics of Planetary Systems

Overview of planetary astrophysics at a level appropriate for science students. Planets as a by-product of star formation: theory and observations. Protostellar/protoplanetary disks. Planetesimal and planet formation. Solar system versus extrasolar planetary systems. Giant planets, terrestrial planets, dwarf planets and minor bodies in the Solar System: interiors and environments.

Prerequisite: MATB41H3 and PHYA21H3
Corequisite: MATB42H3
Exclusion: (ASTB21H3), (ASTC22H3), [AST221H and AST222H]
Breadth Requirements: Natural Sciences

Printer-friendly Version