Astro 120: Spring 2016

The Sky and the Solar System

Prof. Steven Kawaler

Astro 120, an introductory course in modern astronomy for non-scientists, folliows the growth of our understanding of our solar system (and the Universe) from ancient times through modern times. The development of astronomy over the millenia will serve as an illustration of the history of science itself. We begin with a study of the sky (night and day): we will learn the constellations, study the motions of the Sun, moon, and planets, and review the reasons for the seasons, eclipses, and tides, and the genesis of the modern calendar. We then begin exploring the bodies of our solar system -- the sun, the planets and their satellites, and comets, asteroids, and meteorites. We then address the bigger questions about the origin and evolution of our solar system, and discuss the hundreds of recently-discovered other solar systems in our Galaxy. We conclude with a discussion of the possibility of life beyond the Earth.

Throughout the course, we will be looking at the many exciting results from NASA probes, as well using the ISU planetarium.

A poem...


"Everyday" things for class...

Items from earlier in the course

General Course Info

To Prof. Steven Kawaler's page

To ISU Astronomy