In this course we shall be “traveling” through space and time to “visit” firsthand some of the remarkable features of our Universe. Our “spacecraft” will be built from our imagination, but its destinations will reflect what astronomy and physics have revealed about the nature of our Universe. We will see the Solar System from different planets, look back at the Sun from neighboring stars, and travel throughout our home Galaxy even as we prepare to embark to distant galaxies and beyond. As we travel extremely far from home, we will find that we also have to move back in time to see how the galaxies, stars, the Sun, and the Earth came about in the first place. The physical concepts that we require to understand what we see will be introduced as we go along, and some of these will be used many times during the course. Online notes will be available during the course of the term, though students may use any number of standard modern Astronomy textbooks to supplement these notes and the class lectures. There are no labs or discussion sessions attached to this course, but there will be opportunities to use telescopes and Angell Hall during the term.
Cumulative points as follows: homework sets (10 assignments, each worth 5 points for a total of 50 points); two mid-term exams, each worth 12.5 points, and one cumulative final exam worth 25 points). Students also may earn an extra point from bonus questions associated with every lecture and posted on the course web site, up to a maximum of 10 extra points.
This general, introductory 100-level class is intended for non-science majors.