ASTR 104 Spring 2015 The Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe Beyond

It has been less than a century since the Sun was discovered not to be at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Milky Way Galaxy was determined to be only one of countless "island universes" in space. A host of technological advances is enabling us to understand even more clearly our place in the universe and how the universe began. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory bring clearer images and cover a wider range of the spectrum than has ever been obtainable before; they are speeding up progress on determining the past and future of the Universe. They are confirming and enlarging our understanding of the Big Bang. In addition, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and Planck spacecraft's study of the early Universe and large-scale mapping programs such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are giving clues into how the Universe's currently observed structure arose. Astronomy 104, a non-major, general introduction to part of contemporary astronomy comprising the study of galaxies and the Universe, explores the answers to questions like: What is the Milky Way?; Why are quasars so luminous?; Is the Universe made largely of "dark matter" and "dark energy"?; What determines the ultimate fate of the Universe? How have studies of Cepheid variables and distant supernovae with the Hubble Space Telescope determine that the Universe is 13.8 billion years old and indicated that the Universe's expansion is accelerating. We regularly discuss the latest news briefs and developments in astronomy and relate them to the topics covered in the course. This course is independent of, and on the same level as Astronomy 101 and 102, and students who have taken those courses are welcome. Observing sessions will include use of the 24-inch telescope and other telescopes for nighttime observations of stars, star clusters, planets and their moons, nebulae, and galaxies, as well as daytime observations of the Sun. Observing sessions will include use of the 24-inch telescope and other telescopes for observations of stars, star clusters, planets and their moons, nebulae, and galaxies, as well as daytime observations of the Sun.
Class Format: lecture (three hours per week), observing sessions (scattered throughout the semester), afternoon labs (five times per semester), and a planetarium demonstration
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on two hour tests, a final exam, an observing portfolio, and laboratory reports
Additional Info: to be eligible for the Gaudino grade, which stipulates "intellectual presence," a student must demonstrate commitment to engaging the course material in all its aspects: lectures, reading, labs, observing, homework, and exams
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none; not open to students who have taken or are taking ASTR 330
Enrollment Preference:
Department Notes: non-major course
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division III
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 48
Expected Enrollment: 48
Class Number: 3026
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
ASTR 104 - 01 (S) LEC Milky Way Galaxy & Universe Division 3: Science and Mathematics Jay M. Pasachoff
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM 3026
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