Course Description

This Astronomy course is intended to help students discover astronomy through its history as well as to introduce students to the basic concepts of modern astronomy. Students are expected to have an understanding of algebra. The topics covered in this course include the night sky, the history of astronomy, the solar system, stars, black holes, galaxies and quasars, dark matter and dark energy, the Big Bang and possible fates of the Universe, extrasolar planetary systems, and life in the Universe. This course will provide a solid foundation both for future astronomy studies and for understanding the relationships between science, faith, and philosophy. This course consists of two units, the first taking a historical approach and the second taking a systematic approach. The course includes sixteen video lectures (about six hours total) and recommended readings from Arny & Schneider's Explorations: Introduction to Astronomy and from Danielson's Book of the Cosmos. Students will be invited to engage in discussion during seven live sessions with the instructor.  

Course curriculum

  • 1

    The Night Sky; Ancient Astronomy; Calendars

    • Video Lecture (40:31)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 2

    Greek Astronomy

    • Video Lecture (27:01)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 3

    Ptolemy through Medieval Astronomy

    • Video Lecture (35:44)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 4

    Copernicus, Tycho, and Kepler; The Dawn of Heliocentrism; Kepler’s Laws; Orbits

    • Video Lecture (37:20)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 5

    The Galileo Affair; The Relationship Between Science and Faith; The Scientific Method

    • Video Lecture (20:43)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 6

    Early Telescope Astronomy and Newton’s Linking of Astronomy and Physics

    • Video Lecture (18:25)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 7

    Astronomy in the 19th and Early 20th Century; Einstein and Relativity

    • Video Lecture (21:40)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 8

    Hubble, Lemaitre, and the Expanding Universe; Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation; Why the Big Bang Cosmological Model Is Not a Threat to Christianity

    • Video Lecture (27:35)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 9

    Sun, Earth, and Moon; Eclipses; Why Earth Is Rare; The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

    • Video Lecture (23:27)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 10

    Inner Solar System; Telescopes, Rockets, and Satellites

    • Video Lecture (20:42)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 11

    Outer Solar System; Why Pluto Is Not a Planet

    • Video Lecture (21:53)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 12

    Extrasolar Planetary Systems and the Search for Life in the Universe

    • Video Lecture (23:25)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 13

    Sun and Stars; Radiation and Spectroscopy

    • Video Lecture (19:53)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 14

    Star Birth and Death; Neutron Stars, Black Holes, and White Dwarfs

    • Video Lecture (11:59)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 15

    Galaxies, Quasars, and Dark Matter

    • Video Lecture (15:09)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 16

    Cosmology and Dark Energy; Possible Fates of the Universe

    • Video Lecture (14:45)

    • Recommended Reading

  • 17

    Recordings of Live Sessions

    • Week 1

    • Week 2

    • Week 3

Instructor

Instructor

Joseph A'Hearn

Joseph A'Hearn is a Ph.D. Candidate in Physics at the University of Idaho, Instructor of Physics at Memoria Press Online Academy, and Instructor of Physics and Astronomy at Kepler Education. He holds a B.S. in Physics (specialization in Astrophysics) and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He has worked as a teaching assistant in Physics lab courses at the University of Idaho. He has taught courses on Physics, Geometry, World History, Latin, and Greek at the Legion of Christ College of Humanities.

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