1. Catalog Entry
Credit hours (3)
Prerequisites: MATH 137 or equivalent
A quantitative introduction to astronomy for science majors. Stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis, the universe beyond the solar system and the cosmic distance ladder, black holes and other exotic objects, galaxies, origin and evolution of our universe. Students may not receive credit for both ASTR 112 and ASTR 152.
2. Detailed Description of Course
This course begins with a discussion of energy generation and other properties of stars using our sun as a typical star. Stellar evolution is described chronologically from birth to death. Nebulae, star clusters, neutron stars, black holes, and other phenomena are presented in the sequence in which they naturally occur in the life of a star. Our Milky Way galaxy is studied, along with general galactic astronomy, quasars, and other deep-space objects. Dark matter and dark energy and their cosmological implications are covered. The course concludes with studies of theories on the origins and possible fate of the universe.
3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
This course will employ both descriptive and quantitative methods to the study of a variety of astronomy concepts. Students are expected to learn new vocabulary and ways of reasoning with regards to astronomical situations involving stellar evolution and cosmology. Problems, review questions, and thought questions are assigned regularly and discussed in class. Current events in astronomy will be discussed. Students will regularly use astronomical images to develop qualitative and quantitative interpretation skills along with an understanding of astronomical data. Students will use current astronomical photometric and spectroscopic data to calculate stellar spectral types, relative velocities, and other topics discussed in class. A few observational and computer-based activities will be assigned for classwork and homework.
4. Goals and Objectives of the Course
By the end of the course students will be able to:
1) Explain the source of the sun's energy by identifying the specific thermonuclear reactions that are involved.
2) Calculate items such as a basic lifetime for stars based on astronomical data.
3) Sketch a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and use it to infer the relative luminosities, surface temperatures, and sizes of stars.
4) Outline a scenario for the formation of stars.
5) Trace the evolution of stars of different masses on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
6) Compare and contrast the deaths (final stages) of stars of different masses.
7) Describe the sun's motion around the center of the Galaxy and employ mathematical techniques used to find the distance and speed
of this motion.
8) Outline the methods used to find the properties of galaxies.
9) Describe methods used to find the distances to galaxies.
10) Explain the relation known as Hubble's law and explain how Hubble's constant is determined.
11) Discuss the red-shift for quasars and other deep-space objects.
12) State the basic assumptions of cosmology.
13) Describe the Big Bang model for the origin of the universe along with cosmological inflation.
14) Describe dark matter and dark energy, and present the evidence for the existence of each.
15) Assess the possibility of other planetary systems in our Galaxy.
5. Assessment Measures
Student mastery of the material will be assessed via homework, tests, written responses to current astronomy-themed articles assigned by the instructor, and a cumulative semester exam. Students will also be required to do an individual audio/visual presentation of a topic of interest in front of their peers.
6. Other Course Information
Review and Approval
April 23, 2014