All students please read the course syllabus carefully. To see the assignments, click on the appropriate unit below. They will be made available one at a time, at the start of each week during the course.

Attend for extra credit
You can go to a public show by buying a ticket. Start here: http://www.wwu.edu/planetarium/schedule.shtml

OR... There are also a couple of FREE shows scheduled just for this course
(each the same show/choose one). Bring guests if you like.

TUE May 17 6pm
THU May 26 6pm
THU Jun 09 6pm

Here are the directions to find the planetarium.



Week 1 Assignments
due Mon Apr 18
11, 12, 21, 22, 29 History, Planet Motion, Gravity, Light, Telescopes
Week 2 Assignments
due Mon Apr 25
5, 6, 8 How Science Works, Night Sky, Sun & Moon Motion
Week 3 Assignments
due Mon May 2
49 to 51 Our Sun, Star Properties
Week 4 Assignments
due Mon May 9
55, 58 to 63 Formation & Structure of Stars
Week 5 Assignments
due Mon May 16
64 to 66 Stellar Evolution, Death, Remnants
Week 6 Assignments
due Mon May 23
70 to 73, 76 to 82 Milky Way & Other Normal Galaxies, Cosmology
Week 7 Assignments
due Wed Jun 1
76 to 82 Active Galaxies, Cosmology, Big Bang
Week 8 Assignments
due Mon Jun 6
33, 41, 45 to 48 Formation of Our Solar System, Debris
Week 9 Assignments
due Mon Jun 13
35 to 40, 43, 44, 83, 84 Planets, Life in the Universe

The Final Examination will be distributed in class but is a take-home test, with at least one week to finish it. I encourage you to work in groups on the final exam.  Class time during the final week will be available for this exam. I will only answer questions of clarity regarding the final. Consider the following resources for additional help:

  1. Other textbooks in the library
  2. List of websites
  3. List of magazine articles, by topic
  4. Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website, using the search function to locate information http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
  5. Western Washington University Planetarium

Introduction to Astronomy is a 5-credit, non-lab course that provides an introduction to night sky viewing, the history of astronomy, the use of light and telescopes in astronomy, planetary science (including small objects in our solar system), solar science, recent findings in the search for planets outside our solar system, the science of our Sun and other stars, star clusters, normal and active galaxies, and cosmology (the formation and evolution of our universe).  Emphasis is on comparison of theories of planetary, stellar, galactic, and universal evolution with observable features of our universe.  Students will see how 20th century modern physics provides natural explanations for unusual objects and events in the universe, including star formation, star explosions, white dwarf stars, neutron stars, stellar black holes, dark matter, quasars and other bizarre galaxies, the expanding universe, and the known features of chemical abundances throughout the universe.  The course meets distribution requirements for the AA degree.

Assignments for this course will include reading from sources outside the textbook.   This will include Internet material and articles from the periodicals Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and Scientific American, all written for arm-chair astronomers just like us.  For a list of some internet websites I've used a lot, go to my list of websites and do some surfing.  For a list of articles pertinent to various topics in astronomy, go to my list of magazine articles going back to late 1996.  To use WCC library online services to view contents of magazine articles, see the instructions for using Ebsco and Proquest (whether from on-campus or someplace else).

The course lasts nominally 10 weeks, and we will cover new content each calendar week.  Each weekly assignment will include some discussion questions to answer, and a multiple choice quiz.  See the syllabus for details.

Check out these links:
NASA images of the Sun
The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas
One view on why anti-science thrives.

Before you send me email: Email students send professors.