2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Astronomy & Cosmologies

NEW! Last Updated: 06/23/2009

Spring quarter

Faculty: EJ Zita physics, astronomy

Academic web site: academic.evergreen.edu/curricular/astro/

Major areas of study include astronomy, physics, history & philosophy of science

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: Proficiency with algebra; strong reading and writing skills. Willingness to work in teams and to use computers for online assignments.

Students will learn beginning to intermediate astronomy through reading, discussions, workshops and observation, using the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. We will learn about the evolution and structure of our universe and celestial bodies. We will learn to estimate and calculate fascinating and fundamental phenomena, such as black holes and the expansion of the universe. Students will build and take home astronomical tools such as spectrometers and position finders. Students will also research a topic of interest via observations and reading, and share their research with classmates.


This program will be mostly online, with one afternoon meeting per week, followed by evening observation if it is clear. Significant teamwork and individual motivation will be required. The program will meet fully in person the first week.


In online seminars we will discuss not only astronomy but also cosmologies: how people across cultures and throughout history have understood, modeled, and ordered the universe they perceived. We often study creation stories and worldviews, from those of ancient peoples to modern astrophysicists. Students will meet in small teams for pre-seminar discussion, and post essays and responses online.

Students are invited to help organize an observation field trip to a region with clear skies (e.g. Eastern Washington or a Southwestern state).

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 25

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: Approximately $40 for materials; $200-300 for binoculars and tripod; and up to $300 for possible field trip.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in astronomy, physical sciences, teaching, history and philosophy of science

Planning Units: Scientific Inquiry