This is a general introductory course in astronomy. We will cover the entire universe from the nucleus of the atom to distant galactic clusters. Since we only have twelve weeks, we are going to have to make some choices. We cannot cover all of the subjects in great detail. Some topics we will only touch on the general concepts; others we will discuss in detail. Classes will be composed of a combination of lecture, student participation, group projects, video, slide, and Power Point presentations, as well as spontaneous observing sessions.

While we will focus on the theoretical aspects of basic astronomy, we will spend time outside familiarizing ourselves with the night sky and what is visible in our sky this semester. Because star gazing is dependent on the weather, I cannot predict what nights we will venture out. So, it is very important that you come to class prepared to observe. YOU’VE GOT TO DRESS WARMLY--a warm hat, gloves, and warm footwear are a must. Nothing will spoil a good observing session more effectively than cold students!

Hundreds of years ago, scientists discovered that all of nature could be described by mathematics. Our strategy in this course will be to study basic astronomical theory and cover the mathematics where it is important to understanding the key concepts of a topic. Our goal is also to gain an understanding of how astronomy is relevant to life on Earth and how we, non-scientists, can embrace it and study it. Just in case I get stuck, you might want to have a calculator handy—one capable of handling scientific notation!

You can help make class more interesting by coming prepared to participate and by bringing in any outside material you find interesting during the week that pertains to astronomy—a current event or a new discovery. Also, if you have an area of astronomy you would like to discuss in class, let me know and I will try to work it in.

We will meet each week and your attendance is crucial to your grasping the material and successfully passing the course. There will be weekly assignments. I will assign reading and problems for you to do outside of class. Come to class prepared. A portion of your grade depends on it.