Course Outline

PHYS 301 : Astronomy

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Last approved: Wed, 20 Jan 2016 14:21:26 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 20 Jan 2016 14:21:25 GMT

College of Arts & Sciences (WARSC)
This descriptive course deals with the structure and evolution of the physical universe. Topics include the solar system (Earth, moon, sun, and planets), stars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, cosmology, and exobiology. Planetarium trips and night observing sessions are optional.

This course is designed to introduce the student to the study of the physical universe in all of its dimensions. The student will develop an understanding of the nature and scale of the universe, and of our relatively insignificant place in it. The historical development of the sciences of astronomy and cosmology will be covered, as well as the details of the latest findings and of future plans for space exploration. The scientific method will be appreciated as an ongoing endeavor for all humanity through which we attempt to gain certain knowledge about the past, present, and future of the cosmos.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to do the following:

1. Review ancient cosmologies and trace the development of astronomy from antiquity, through the Renaissance to modern times.

2. Recognize the basic physical processes operating in the astronomical environment, and apply the basic laws and equations of physics to explain the workings of the universe on the grandest scales.

3. Discuss the properties of a telescope and the important features of telescope (ground and space-based) design, as related to the various wavelengths (e.g. x-ray, UV, optical, IR, radio) in the electromagnetic spectrum.

4. Describe the general plan of the solar system, and discuss the properties (interior, surface, and atmosphere) of solar system bodies including the sun, planets, satellites, and minor members (comets, asteroids, and meteorites).

5. Recognize the appearance of the night sky, accounting for any diurnal, seasonal, annual, and secular changes.

6. Describe the various techniques used by astronomers to determine the distance to and the size, mass, motion, composition, age, and other important parameters of astronomical objects (e.g. planets, stars, galaxies, etc.).

7. Discuss the life cycle of a star from birth in nebulae as (protostars) through "main sequence" middle age, to death (degenerate stars, supernovae, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes).

8. Discuss the basic properties, structure, and evolution of galaxies, and compare quasars to the active, peculiar galaxies.

9. Describe the large scale structure of the universe and assess the various cosmological models (e.g. the "big bang").

10. Retrace the origin of life on earth, and describe efforts in the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

11. Solve a few basic quantitative problems dealing with various aspects of the course material (e.g. estimate relative distances to and motions of stars and galaxies, calculate surface temperatures, masses, sizes, luminosities, and ages of stars, etc.).

Located on the Daytona Beach Campus, the Jack R. Hunt Library is the primary library for all students of the Worldwide Campus. The Chief Academic Officer strongly recommends that every faculty member, where appropriate, require all students in his or her classes to access the Hunt Library or a comparable college-level local library for research. The results of this research can be used for class projects such as research papers, group discussion, or individual presentations. Students should feel comfortable with using the resources of the library. 

Web & Chat:
Text: (386) 968-8843
Library Phone:  (386) 226-7656 or (800) 678-9428

Written assignments must be formatted in accordance with the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) unless otherwise instructed in individual assignments.

ActivityPercent of Grade
Input Grading Item100

Undergraduate Grade Scale

90 - 100% A
80 - 89% B
70 - 79% C
60 - 69% D
0 - 60% F

Graduate Grade Scale

90 - 100% A
80 - 89% B
70 - 79% C
0 - 69% F
Richard Kuseski, Ph.D. - 3/31/2015
John H. Bradham, Ph.D., PMP - 3/31/2015
Johnelle Korioth, Ph.D. - 3/31/2015
Dr. James Schultz – 3/31/2015
Key: 222