Astronomy Syllabus

Below, you will find the suggested course syllabus. The days are not meant to be followed exactly, but serve more to give a sense of direction and sequence. Some parts of the course may take longer than others, so please use this page to keep you from getting lost and to build upon a foundation of knowledge that I believe will serve you best in your studies. The background photo is the famous 1996 Hubble Space Telescope "Deep Field" that depicts galaxies almost beyond comprehension.

UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION

MATERIAL COVERED IN THE UNIT

WORK DONE BY YOU

 

Prologue, Introduction, Teacher Bio, Course Units

Getting to know you

UNIT TWO: THE STARRY SKY

Introduction to the Night Sky, Tour of the Universe, Units of Measurements

 

  Units of Measurement  

 

Celestial objects and constellations of the season

 

 

Orientation to the celestial sphere

First Constellation Observation, Star Charts

UNIT THREE: HISTORY

Introduction to the History of Astronomy

 

 

Archaeoastronomy

 

 

Ancient Astronomy

Write your own myth

  Greek Astronomy ... Aristotle through Hipparchus  

 

Greek Astronomy ... Ptolemy

Ancient History Quiz

 

Protestant Reformation and the Copernican Revolution

Copernican Revolution Quiz

 

Nicholas Copernicus

Grad Standard Paper

  Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler  
  Galileo  
  Sir Isaac Newton  

UNIT FOUR: LIGHT AND TELESCOPES

Introduction to Light and Telescopes

 

  Electromagnetic Spectrum  

 

Electromagnetic Spectrum, Measuring Starlight and Distances

 

 

Telescopes - Refracting, Reflecting, Radio, Space, Getting Your Own

 

  Telescopes - Radio and Space  

 

Helping someone buy a telescope

Star Observation, Star Charts

 

Parallax (to be added to course at a future date)

Parallax Lab

UNIT FIVE: EXPLORATION OF SPACE

Introduction to Space Exploration

 

 

The space race

 

  Mercury and Gemini  
  Apollo  
  Shuttle missions and Space Station  

 

Satellite exploration of space

Exploration Quiz

  Early space satellite missions  
  Large space satellites  
  Future of space exploration  

UNIT SIX: EARTH AND MOON

Introduction to Our Home Planet

 

 

Our place in space

Scale model of the solar system

 

The Earth ...Introduction, facts, structure and origin

 

 

The Earth ... tectonics, mountain building, and rock cycle

 

 

The Earth ... atmosphere, weather, and seasons

Earth quiz

 

The Moon ... Introduction, structure and features

Moon Observation

 

The Moon ... phases

Moon Phases Worksheet

  The Moon ... tides  

 

The Moon ... eclipses

Stranded on the Moon

 

The Moon ... origin theories

Origins Quiz

 

The Moon ... why are all the craters round

Cratering Lab

UNIT SEVEN: SOLAR SYSTEM

Introduction to the other Sun 's Planets

 

 

Inner Rocky Worlds ... Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars

Mars crater lab

  Inner Rocky Worlds ... Venus  
  Inner Rocky Worlds ... Mars, part 1  
  Inner Rocky Worlds ... Mars, part 2  
 

Outer Gas Giants ... Jupiter

Voyager Quiz and Commentary

  Outer Gas Giants ... Jupiter's moons  

 

Outer Gas Giants ... Saturn

Measuring diameter of Pluto

  Outer Gas Giants ... Saturn's rings and moons  
  Outer Gas Giant ... Uranus  
  Outer Gas Giants ... Neptune  
  Voyager Mission Recount  
  Icy Worlds ... Pluto Measuring diameter of Pluto

 

Comets

 

 

Asteroids

Planet Quiz

UNIT EIGHT: THE SUN

Introduction to the Sun

 

 

Sun structure and facts

Sun Observation

 

Thermonuclear fusion powers the sun

 

 

Solar events ... sun spots and flares

 

  Solar events ... flares and prominences  
  Solar events ... aurora borealis  

 

The Sun's spectrum ... developing the HR Diagram

Stellar spectra comparisons

  developing the HR Diagram  

 

The Sun's lifecycle

Sun Quiz

UNIT NINE: STARS

Introduction to Stars, Stellar Spectra, Star Lifecycles

 

  Stellar Spectra & Spectroscopic Parallax  
  Star Lifecycles  

 

Main Sequence Dwarfs, Faintest and Coolest

 

  The Faintest and Coolest Stars  

 

Largest, Brightest, Hottest

AAVSO Lab

  The Brightest Stars  
  Cepheid Variables  

 

Supernovae, Smallest

Star Quiz

  Supernova 1987A  
  Smallest Stars ... Neutron Stars and Pulsars  
  Smallest Stars ... Black Holes, part 1  

 

Smallest Stars ... Black Holes, part 2

SN1987A lab

UNIT TEN: GALAXIES

Introduction to Galaxies

 

 

The Milky Way, part 1

 

  Slipher discovers multiple spectra in Milky Way Nebulae  

 

Hubble discovers red-shifts in Milky Way nebulae

 

 

Galaxy Types

Hubble Deep Field Lab

  Milky Way, part 2  

 

Star Formation in Galaxies

 

  Evolution of Galaxies  

UNIT ELEVEN: COSMOLOGY

Introduction to Cosmology

 

 

Methods to measure great distances

Final Constellation Observation

 

The Big Bang

Cosmology Paper

  The Accelerating Universe
 
  Multiverses and String Theory  
  The End of the Universe  

UNIT TWELVE: SETI

Introduction to ET

 

 

Extraterrestrial visitors to earth and SETI

SETI opportunity

 

Roadblocks to development of intelligent life

 

 

Final comments

Final paper

FINAL EXAM

 

 

Chat Lessons

Chat Homepage

 



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