2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer quarter

Faculty: Rebecca Chamberlain literature, writing, yoga

Fields of Study: astronomy, literature and philosophy

Summer: CRN (Credit) Level 40154 (12) Full Session; 40155 (8) Full Session; 40156 (4) Full Session  

Credits: 4, 8, 12(Su)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Senior

Offered During: Day, Evening and Weekend


From sacred stories to fundamentals of astronomy, this intensive course will explore a variety of cosmological concepts from mythology, literature, philosophy, and history, to an introduction to astronomy, archeo-astronomy, and theories about the origins of the universe. We will employ scientific methods of observation, investigation, hands-on activities, and strategies that foster inquiry-based learning and engage the imagination. Activities are designed for amateur astronomers and those interested in inquiry based science education as well as those interested in doing observation-based research or in exploring literary, philosophical, cultural, and historical cosmological traditions.

Students will participate in a variety of activities from telling star-stories under the night sky, to working in a computer lab to create planetarium programs. Through readings, lectures, films, workshops, and discussions, participants will deepen their understanding of the principles of astronomy and refine their understanding of the role that cosmology plays in our lives through the stories we tell, the observations we make, and the questions we ask. Students will develop skills and appreciation for the ways we uncover our place in the Universe through scientific theories and cultural stories, imagination and intellect, qualitative and quantitative processes.

Field studies include visits to an observatory and The Oregon Star Party. We will use a variety of techniques to enhance our observation skills including the use of star-maps and navigation guides to identify objects in the night sky, use of 8” and 10” Dobsonian telescopes to find deep space objects, and the use of binoculars and other tools.

Students registering for 12 credits will participate in binary star research at an invitational gathering at Pine Mountain Observatory. This is strongly recommended for those who want do scientific analysis, writing, and research.  It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with an active community of amateur and professional astronomers engaged in citizen science.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

Advertised Schedule: 2-10p Wed (Jul. 13, 20, Aug. 3, 17, 24) plus a field trip to the Oregon Star Party, Aug. 30-Sep. 4. In addition, 12-credit students will conduct binary star research and field studies at Pine Mountain Observatory, July 24-28.

Required Fees: All students must pay $300 for field-work and lab supplies, star-charts, workshops, guest speakers, and travel. And 12-credit students must pay an additional $200 to participate in binary star research at Pine Mountain Observatory.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: inquiry-based science education, scientific research, writing, journalism, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, storytelling

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
May 10th, 2011 Required fees were adjusted to accommodate increases in expected expenses.