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Astronomical Investigation

AST 111L

Astronomical Investigation

AST 111L

Course Description

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: READING LEVEL 2 and WRITING LEVEL 2 and MATH LEVEL 2, and AST 111 (or concurrent enrollment).

Provides a variety of introductory investigations through laboratory experiments to enhance knowledge of introductory astronomy including celestial coordinates, planetary motion, astronomical laws, telescopes, scale of the solar system, stellar distances, evolution and other astronomical concepts. Identifies many constellations and stars in the current night sky. (0-30)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate an understanding of the night sky.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate the use of scientific notation, angular measure, astronomical measurements and terminology.
  • Explain how the sun, the moon, and the stars appear to change their positions from night to night and from month to month.
  • Describe how our time keeping and seasons are tied to the changing sky.
  • Explain the celestial sphere and the system of celestial coordinates of the sky (horizon and equator systems).
  • Demonstrate how to read star maps.

Demonstrate an understanding of planetary motion and the history of astronomy.

Objectives:

  • Describe the motion of the planets as seen from the earth and as viewed in the solar system.
  • Discuss how the observed motion of the planets led to our modern view of a sun-centered solar system (heliocentric model).
  • Apply Kepler's laws to explain planetary motion.
  • Describe the mathematical concept of gravity and how it relates to planetary motion.

Demonstrate an understanding of telescopes and radiation.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basic types and operation of optical telescopes.
  • Determine the temperature of an object by observing the radiation it emits.
  • Apply the basic concepts of modern spectroscopy.
  • Describe how every element produces a distinctive and recognizable pattern of spectral lines.
  • Identify the different spectra and how they are produced.
  • Construct and assemble a working telescope.

Demonstrate an understanding of the solar system.

Objectives:

  • Describe the similarities and differences among the four terrestrial worlds.
  • Compare and contrast the basic differences between the terrestrial and the Jovian planets.
  • Describe the similarities and differences among the four Jovian worlds.
  • Compute the scale size of the planets and their distances in the solar system by modeling.

Demonstrate an understanding of stellar evolution and how the distances to stars are determined.

Objectives:

  • Use triangulation to compute the distance to objects in space.
  • Describe the mechanism by which stars shine.
  • Determine stellar distances by use of stellar luminosity.
  • Describe the difference between absolute and apparent brightness.
  • Demonstrate how stars are categorized according to their brightness and surface temperature (Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram).
  • Describe stellar evolution (formation, life, and death of a star).