ASTR116: Introduction to Astronomy, with Lab

Dr. Phil Segre

Catalog Description

Taught fall and spring. Credit, four hours. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and Math 100C or placement in a higher numbered mathematics course. Fundamental concepts and principles of astronomy. Laboratory weekly; observing sessions as weather permits.

ASTR116 Course Description:

Modern Astronomy concerns itself with the universe, its origin, its structure, its contents, its processes, its evolution and its ultimate fate. While modern Astronomy attempts to explain the Universe in terms of physical principles, the ordered study of the heavens for the purpose of making predictions is as old as human civilization. Astronomy can thus claim to be the oldest of the natural sciences. This enterprise continues because humanity continues to believe that the Universe is comprehensible.

Course Objectives: This course is an introductory survey of the science of Astronomy. Students completing ASTR116 are expected to have an ordered understanding of the development of the human quest for knowledge of the heavens, of the ways in which modern astronomers know the Universe and of the important current questions and issues in Astronomy. They are expected to learn basic information about the Sun, the solar system, stars, galaxies and modern cosmology, as well as to develop a basic understanding of physical principles underlying astronomical research. They should be able to identify objects in the night sky and develop the foundation for a lifetime of appreciation and enjoyment of the heavens.

Textbook and Readings: The textbook for the course is Discovering the Universe, 9'th edition, by Neil F. Comins and William J. Kaufmann, published by W.H. Freeman and co, 2012. Additional readings from other sources will be assigned from time to time, and some videos will be shown that supplement the readings and lectures.You are asked to bring your textbook to every class.

Laboratory: Laboratory activities are designed to give the student opportunities for investigating nature with scientific methodology. The regular lab schedule will begin in the second week of classes.