Astronomy 11 - Stellar Astronomy

Astronomy 11 (Stellar) (3 Units)

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: A Course in descriptive Astronomy with emphasis on stars: their origin and evolution, their distribution within the galaxies, and the origin of the universe within which the galaxies of stars are found. The possibility of communicating with distant technical civilizations is used as a theme to focus the vast amount of knowledge accumulated with modern telescopes and satellites.

TEXT: Chosen by the Instructor prior to the Fall1998 semester. You are responsible for thoroughly understanding the contents of the textbook, including diagrams, tables, and photographs. It is assumed that for a 3-unit course such as this, you spend at least two (2) hours outside of class preparing for each hour in the classroom. This means you should spend at least six (6) hours per week studying for this class. You are expected to memorize and learn to use the NEW TERMS presented in each chapter prior to arrival in the class in which the TERMS are to be used.


A. The student is shown how astronomical instruments provide the data upon which astronomical theories are based, and actually manipulates some of the instruments so that he/she is able to explain the connection between instrument, data collected, and theories constructed from that data.

B. The student will be presented with a short survey of the history of the science of astronomy so that he/she is able to describe the major discoveries and changes in world view that have led to the current assumptions and theories in Astronomy.

C. The student will be presented with the current theories in Astronomy so that she/he is able to explain the processes and/or steps associated with the:

   1. Observations and behavior of Sun.

   2. Characteristics and properties of the different types of stars.

   3. Evolution of stars from birth to life to death.

   4. Formation of stars into galaxies.

   5. Evolution of galaxies from birth to life to possible death.

   6. Origin of the universe from the Big Bang to the present day.

   7. Search for intelligent life beyond the Earth.

   8. Possible colonization of space by humankind.

D. The student will be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills so that she/he is able to explain the steps by which astronomical observations and experimental evidence are weaved together to formulate the theories discussed in (C) above.

E. The Planetarium will be used to demonstrate the methods by which celestial objects and their motions are defined, and thereby enable the student to explain the positions and/or motions of objects as observed from any location on the Earth's surface at any moment of time and date.

F. Through the use of the Planetarium, the student will be encouraged to take an interest in observing the real sky outdoors, and to demonstrate the positions and/or movements of celestial objects during participation at optional public observing sessions (star parties).

G. The student will be encouraged to relate ideas and topics in Astronomy in the classroom to those available in the public domain (newspapers, magazines, TV science programs, Planetarium presentations, lectures, etc.) so that he/she experiences and then explains the relevance of Astronomy in the classroom to that in our society.