Description and Objectives
This is an introductory course in astronomy. Through the scientific study of celestial objects, space, and the observable physical universe, students will gain a greater appreciation for the beauty in created reality, the advantages and limitations of the scientific method, an appreciation for astronomy’s rich history, and a conceptual understanding of introductory astrophysics. Particular emphasis will be given to “how we know what we know.”
Topics will include:
- Observing celestial objects from Earth
- History of astronomy
- Light and the scientific method in astronomy
- Earth as an analogy of other planets and celestial bodies
- The moon, meteors, asteroids, and comets
- The sun and our solar system
- Properties of stars
- Life and death of stars
- Black holes and other stellar remnant
- Our galaxy
- Other galaxies
- Philosophical questions of man’s relation to the physical universe.
Explorations: An Introduction to Astronomy, 5th (fifth) Edition, Arny and Schneider, published by Mcgraw-Hill College (2007), ISBN 978-0-07-331598-0
Students should expect homework to be given periodically. Late homework and assignments will not be accepted unless prior arrangements were made (travel, sickness, etc).
Grades will be assigned based on a point system.
Class participation is required. It may take the form of effective insight or the asking of probing questions. Comportment, class readiness, and sustained improvement over time also factor into class participation. Students may earn or lose up to half a letter-grade based on participation. The teacher will keep an account of how well students are participating, and students can approach the teacher at any time to ask about how well they are performing in this respect.
Mid-term and final examinations are cumulative.
Successful students will consult with the instructor frequently, asking questions when certain concepts have not been understood or providing insights when appropriate. I encourage parents to contact me with any questions or concerns, either by email or phone.
At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will have gained a solid foundation in their understanding of celestial objects, space, and the observable physical universe. As a liberal art, astronomy is a subject worthy of study in of itself, and successful students will approach it actively, studying God’s created and observable universe with interest and wonder.