We will start the fall with historical astronomy: Stonehenge, the Mayan calendar, Chinese & Egyptian astronomy, Lakota stone medicine wheels, etc. – figuring out what people knew about the sky from just their own observations. We will then move on to focus on what we know now about our own solar system and read Dava Sobel’s book “The Planets.” From there, we will expand our gaze to what we know of the universe today, studying stars, other solar systems, and the universe, including Einstein’s theories of relativity. We will end the fall with some of the current topics in astronomy: dark matter, extra-solar planets, wormholes and the like.
This class will include papers and projects along with readings and several class presentations. Readings will mostly be from current articles and books of essays. We will use some computer-based lab work. Students should also expect to have extra “lab time” in the evenings many weeks, either for telescope work or for viewing science documentaries.
Priority (if needed) for Astronomy will be given to students who cannot take other science courses this year.