Additional Course Outline Information
Goal of the Course
The goal of this course is to give students a descriptive appreciation of a range of topics in Astronomy and Cosmology.
Successful completion of this course will provide the student with the:
• knowledge of the basic principles of physics necessary to understand the size, structure & evolution of objects in the universe;
• ability to describe the diversity of objects in the universe & the physical processes that govern them;
• ability to comprehend & explain the size and age of the universe;
• basic skills in presenting scientific material.
Summary of the Course Content
ASTR/PHYS109 will take you on a grand tour of the universe! We will survey a range of topics in Astronomy, Physics and Cosmology from things locally (in our solar system) and expanding outward to visit exotic stars and distant galaxies. During the journey we will learn about how the universe works and will highlight the key discoveries that have led us to this understanding.
Our Solar system: The appearance of the heavens. How the ancients explained the sky. Ancient to modern ideas of the solar system. Spacecraft exploration of the solar system. How the solar system was formed. Evidence for other planetary systems.
Other stars: The Sun as a star. How stars shine. How stars are born and their life cycles. How hot are the stars? How far away are the stars? The fate of stars: supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Re-birth: seeding the next generation of stars.
Onward and Outward: Our Milky Way Galaxy. Galaxies: how far away are they? Large scale structure of the universe. Remnant radiation in the universe. Cosmology: the early universe. Big bang models. The future of the universe. Life in the universe. Search for extra terrestrial intelligence (SETI).