The course will
give an introductory tour of the Universe. This will be the longest,
farthest journey possible: through the Universe, and back in time 14
billion years to the Big Bang.
We will focus on
modern astronomy that describes the structure of the universe. You'll
physics laws that drive the evolution of the Universe, and you'll also
to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. The goal is twofold:
- Becoming familiar with
the fundamental contents of the Universe (galaxies, stars, gas,
radiation, and possibly
dark matter); and
- Understanding how we
know what we know, or how science works.
The course is organized into
For more details, look at the course schedule.
- Observing the Universe
and Tools of Astronomy
- Stars: Their birth, life,
- Galaxies and Cosmology:
The origin, evolution and fate of the Universe
material will be explored in lectures every week, in-class quizzes,
readings from the text, homework, and exams (see Requirements and grades for more
details). You are encouraged to ask questions in class and during
The Home Page for the course is at URL http://www.astro.umass.edu/~hjmo/astro100.
are encouraged to print out Lecture notes ,
which may be updated from time to time though, and bring them
you to class to use as a guide for the lectures and a framework for any
additional notes you may wish to take. Various online resources are
for you to explore.
- Thursday evenings (typically 7:30-9:30) at
Orchard Hill Observatory, courtesy of UMass graduate students in
Call 7-4166 after 7pm to check on the observing status.
- The Amherst Area Amateur Astronomy
runs observatory and planetarium sessions on a regular schedule. Check
the AAAAA website for more
Why Should I Care?
course will cover larger topics -- measured by mass, size, age -- you
-- than any other class you will ever take. This is good. The concepts
are actually not hard to grasp. More importantly, you are now living in
society where science plays an ever-increasing role. It is crucial that
you understand how science and scientists actually work, since you will
find yourself voting on, reading newspaper articles about, and probably
using the products of scientific research every day for the rest of
life. Perhaps this course will spark a life-long interest in science;
not. In any event, the thought processes and reasoning skills you
in this semester should benefit you far more than this single
undergraduate 3-credit course.