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Course Description

Might landscape showing part of the Milky Way Galaxy

This course is designed for non-science students. Emphasis will be on the interdisciplinary and contemporary aspects of astronomy with the object of providing a perspective of our place in the physical universe. Topics will include the solar system, stars and stellar evolution, pulsars, black holes, quasars and cosmology. Students are encouraged to suggest and participate in discussion on items of special interest.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Describe the construction of the solar system and how its internal motions are the result of simple laws.
  2. Identify the similarities and differences in the structure of the planets and their satellites and explain some of the things this tells us about the origin of the solar system.
  3. Understand the constitution of stars, their distances, energy source and evolution.
  4. Describe how stars are aggregated into galaxies and how the distribution of galaxies and other entities lead to a cosmological view of the nature and evolution of the universe as a whole.

Course Topics

  • The planets of the solar system and their motions
  • The Sun and the nature of stars
  • The distribution of stars and galaxies
  • The distribution of galaxies and cosmology

Additional Requirements

Restriction(s): Students with standing in any other 1000 level course credit in physics (except (PHYS*1020 or PHYS*1300), PHYS*1810)) may not use this course for credit. B.Sc. students may not take this course for credit.

Assessment

Assessment Item Weight
Online Mini-Quizzes 20%
Midterm 1 15%
Midterm 2 15%
Online Final Exam 50%
Total 100%

Note:

Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. In order to use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, you must meet the following technical requirements:

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.
  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.
  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.
  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into your computer or can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (You will be required to do an environment scan of your room, so please ensure you can move your computer, laptop or webcam for this scan.)
  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that you access the Internet via a wired connection.

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.

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