Is the Earth unique in our galaxy? Students learn how stars and our galaxy have evolved and how this produces planets and the conditions suitable for life. Discussion of the motion of the night sky and how telescopes collect and analyze light. The life-cycle of stars from birth to death, and the end products of that life cycle — from dense stellar corpses to supernova explosions. Course covers recent discoveries of extrasolar planets — those orbiting stars beyond our sun — and the ultimate quest for other Earths. Intended to be accessible to non-science majors, material is explored quantitatively with problem sets using basic algebra and numerical estimates. Sky observing exercise and observatory field trips supplement the classroom work.
- Discussion section time will be determined during the first week of class.