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SPST180 - Introduction to Astronomy

Course Details

Course Code: SPST180 Course ID: 5036 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course will introduce students to the wonders of the universe. Topics will include deciphering the motions of objects in the sky, learning how astronomers decode the light coming to us from distant objects, exploring the Earth and other bodies in our solar system, and investigating the properties and structure of stars, galaxies, and the universe itself. Students will be encouraged to develop a conceptual understanding of these topics beyond memorization of facts. While the course is conceptual in nature, students should expect to use some mathematics. Completion of at least college algebra prior to taking this course is highly recommended.





Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to

  • Recall major advances in astronomical knowledge contributed by such scientists as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. (CO-1)
  • Relate how astronomers use telescopes and electronics to analyze the electromagnetic spectrum to identify properties of celestial objects. (CO-2)
  • Interpret the motions of the stars, Sun, and Moon in the sky and how those motions combine to create seasons, lunar phases, and eclipses. (CO-3)
  • Describe the structure of Earth’s interior, surface, atmosphere, and magnetic field. (CO-4)
  • Compare and contrast the surface processes and/or atmospheres of both the terrestrial and gas giant planets of our solar system. (CO-5, CO-6)
  • Describe the layers of the Sun and the role of magnetic fields in shaping solar atmospheric phenomena. (CO-7)
  • Explain the process by which the Sun and other stars make energy and transport it from their cores outward into the system surrounding them. (CO-8)
  • Make use of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and other methods to classify stars based on their observed properties, and determine stellar ages through the comparison of cluster diagrams. (CO-9,10)
  • Describe the lifecycles of both low mass and high mass stars, understand how their properties change during each evolutionary stage and how their evolution can be represented on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. (CO-11)
  • Relate how astronomers have deduced the shape and structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. (CO-12)
  • Distinguish between different types of galaxies, and identify how observations of distant galaxies have been used to probe the large-scale structure of the universe. (CO-13)
  • Describe the evidence we have for the existence of supermassive black holes and their role in the evolution and activity of galaxies. (CO-14)
  • Outline the evidence for the evolution of the universe. (CO-15)
NameGrade %
Introductions Forum 1.00 %
Introductions Forum 1.00 %
Forum Assignments 14.00 %
Week 2 Forum 2.00 %
Week 3 Forum 2.00 %
Week 4 Forum 2.00 %
Week 5 Forum 2.00 %
Week 6 Forum 2.00 %
Week 7 Forum 2.00 %
Week 8 Forum 2.00 %
Chapter Quizzes 25.00 %
Week 2 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 1 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 3 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 4 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 5 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 6 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 7 Quiz 3.13 %
Week 8 Quiz 3.13 %
Midterm Exam 30.00 %
Midterm Exam - Week 5 - 2 30.00 %
Final Exam 30.00 %
Final Exam - Week 8 30.00 %
Book Title: Astronomy - e-book available online; link provided inside the classroom
Author: OpenStax
Publication Info: OpenStax
ISBN: SPST180-N/A

Book Title:Astronomy - e-book available online; link provided inside the classroom
ISBN:SPST180-N/A
Publication Info:OpenStax
Author:OpenStax

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.