2020-2021 Catalog 
    Jul 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog [PREVIOUS CATALOG YEAR]

PHY 100 - Introduction to Astronomy

Description: Cycles of the sky, astronomical observations, history of astronomy, gravitation, light, optical instruments, stellar evolution and classification, galaxies , cosmological theories, survey of the solar system, and life in the universe. Preparedness Recommendations: one year of high school algebra or passing grade in MAT 092  or satisfactory score on mathematics skills assessment.

Prerequisites: Reading Proficiency.

Credits: 4
Lecture: 3
Lab: 3

Course Content:
  1. Cosmic motions: Celestial sphere, planetary motion, orbits, moon phases, eclipses
  2. Constellations
  3. Celestial coordinates
  4. Copernicus, Tycho, and Kepler; Kepler's laws
  5. Newton and gravitation
  6. Light
  7. Optical instruments and astronomical observations
  8. Properties of stars and stellar classifications
  9. The solar system and its origin
  10. Stellar birth, evolution, and death
  11. The Milky Way galaxy
  12. Galaxies and quasars
  13. Cosmological theories
  14. Life in the universe

Learning Outcomes:
  1. Predict, observe, and analyze the motions of the stars, the Sun, and the Moon due to seasonal and latitude effects. (1-3)
  2. Explain the causes of phases and eclipses; predict and observe phases of the Moon and planets; predict probable eclipse dates. (1)
  3. Use the telescope for astronomical observations. (7)
  4. Examine and critically analyze early and modern theories of the solar system. (4,5) 
  5. Describe the basic mechanisms for the production of light, and apply the principles to the production of light by celestial objects. (6) 
  6. Explain how stellar spectra can be used to obtain information about the motion, temperature, composition, and density of an object. (6)
  7. Describe the process by which stars are born, and identify some of the best-known regions of star formation in the night sky. (9,10) 
  8. Deduce the evolution and the probable end of stars using quantitative skills. (10)
  9. Describe methods used to determine distances to celestial objects, and apply that information to the size and structure of the universe. (6,8,11-13)
  10. Describe methods for searching for life beyond Earth. (14)
  11. Use scientific reasoning to evaluate physical and natural phenomena. (7) 
  12. Identify the unifying themes of the scientific field of study. (5,6,13)
  13. Interpret the numerical and/or graphical presentation of scientific data. (7) 
  14. Use the tools and equipment necessary for basic scientific analysis and research. (7)
  15. Record the results of investigation through writing. (7)