NATS 2603  -  Introduction to Astronomy - Online

Mid America Christian University

“Sundays” May 10 to June 14
John Ensworth

Course Syllabus 
 Word2K format  HTML Format  PDF Format


Additional Resources:

Please try to  go out and learn some of the bright constellations (I can even give you
limited help over the phone - cell to cell - if we both have clear skies and darkness in our part of the country).

You may attend local planetarium shows for great shows about the night sky and astronomy. 
 I'll list 'local' planetaria when I get the list of cites where you students are located.

Planisphere at Amazon, at Barnes and Noble

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Virtual Astronomy Laboratories Account:  If you buy your textbook new,
you will be able to practice with astronomical tools online. 
The course number is:
  1908
NATS2603 - Mid American Christian University

-->It has been updated now  (5/15/2008 3pm ET) <--

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Astronomy Links

John's Book and Software List (doc file)

 UniverseToday A guide to the sky all year!
(They don't seem to be creating the books available below anymore.)

From Previous years: What's Up in 2006 and What's Up in 2007 - 400+page, 14mb PDF file

I strongly recommend www.spaceweather.com for stories and current data as well!


Class Notes

Opening "Powers of Ten" Video

Lecture 1 - Week 1   Observational Astronomy, Astrology, Lunar phases, the History of Astronomy

Power Point Version      4 mb     It is best to Right Click, Save Target As... (in Windows),  then run Power Point    

                                  2hr 8min  (click image) (optional resource)

 HTML Version                           Easier to Load frame by frame (no size)
                                                                                                                                                                        
Adobe Acrobat Version
              Warning:  20mb   in size.
  

  Lecture 2 - Week 2   The Planets and stuff      

Power Point Version    5 mb    It is best to Right Click, Save Target As... (in Windows),  then run Power Point  

                              1hr 30min  (click image)  (optional resource)     
                                         
HTML Version
                        Easier to Load frame by frame
                                                                              
Adobe Acrobat Version              Warning:  12mb   in size.
                                                                          

Lecture 3 - Week 3   Light, Atom, The Sun, Stars and Black Holes     

Power Point Version   3 mb  It is best to Right Click, Save Target As... (in Windows),  then run Power Point  

                              2hr 3min  (click image)  (optional resource)     

HTML Version                        Easier to Load frame by frame   
                                                                                    
 Adobe Acrobat Version               Warning:  47mb  in size.              
                                                                                 

Lecture 4 - Week 4   Galaxies, The Large Scale Structure of the Universe, The Big Bang, GUTs and Time Travel

Power Point Version   4 mb       It is best to Right Click, Save Target As... (in Windows), then run Power Point         

                                 2hr 10min  (click image)  (optional resource)                                                   

HTML Version                           Easier to Load frame by frame
                                                                                         
 Adobe Acrobat Version                  Warning:  38mb  in size.                         
                                                                       

Lecture 5 - Week 5   Life Elsewhere in the Universe, Interstellar Travel, Astronomy as a Career

Power Point Version   1  mb    It is best to Right Click, Save Target As... (in Windows), then run Power Point     
                                              
                                34 min  (click image)  (optional resource)    

HTML Version                           Easier to Load frame by frame

Adobe Acrobat Version                 Warning:  10mb  in size.                               
 
                                                                                 

  

 

Final Exam  (Doc File) - Due at the end of the class.  
Yes, you may start it at any time, but it is a better review if you take it at the end. 


Final Paper Topic Suggestions:
Is time travel possible?
Is Astrology Real? 
What was the Star of Wonder that led the wise men to the manger?
Is there evidence that the sun stood still once in history?
Does the full moon make people loony? Are there more babies or crimes (911 calls) on full moon nights? 
History of the telescope
What do we know about other solar systems?
What will it take to get a human colony on the Moon? or Mars?
Life on Jupiter's Moon Europa? Saturn's Moon Enceladus?
The astronomy (good or bad)  behind the sci-fi move/TV show "fill in the blank"
The planet of your choice
New Planets in the Solar System
Mega-solar storms - what has happened, what could happen? 
Planetariums in history, in the present, and the future?
The Beginning of the Universe - Explorations of the Cosmic Background Radiation - The End of the Universe?   Scientific vs. Creation vs. Intelligent Design?
 What is the state of the Unification of the Forces? 
What is Dark Energy? Dark Matter? 
How may the Universe End? 
What are the job prospects in Astronomy? 
What is the economics of astronomy...who pays and how much and for what? 
What is the history of ...the telescope?...space exploration?...space borne observation platforms? 
What alternatives to the Big Bang exist? 
What are Black Holes? What would it be like falling into one?
...or whatever else you like!

This page last updates: 05/08/2009

By John Ensworth