ASTR& 100: Survey of Astronomy

Class Program
Degree Code
Natural Science
Credits 5 Lecture Hours 55
A survey course intended for the non-science major. Topics studied will include most of the following: historical astronomy, electromagnetic radiation, telescopes, the Earth-Moon system, the solar system, the sun, stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, quasars, and cosmology. This is a non-lab science course. Credit not granted for both ASTR& 100 and ASTR& 101.


Completion of MATH 099/MAP 121 or a higher placement
Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge or skills:

  1. Discuss some of the history of astronomy
  2. Identify major seasonal constellations and some of the brighter stars in the night sky.
  3. Identify lunar phases and, given a lunar phase, predict rising and setting times.
  4. Describe conditions necessary for solar and lunar eclipses.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the solar system, stellar evolution, galaxies, quasars, and black holes.
  6. Describe the role of gravity in various astronomical processes.
  7. Describe how astronomers employ electromagnetic radiation to learn about astronomical objects.
  8. Perform simple algebra and calculations involving relations used in astronomy such as Wien’s Displacement Law, Kepler’s Third Law, and other relations used in introductory astronomy.
  9. Discuss qualitatively current theories of cosmology.
  10. Demonstrate knowledge of telescope powers (resolving power, light-gathering power, and magnification) to compare telescopes of different apertures and designs.
Institutional Outcomes
IO2 Quantitative Reasoning: Students will be able to reason mathematically.
Course Content Outline
  • Motions in the Sky
  • Seasonal Changes in the Night Sky
  • Astronomical History
  • Early Astronomy
    • Developments in Astronomy of Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler
  • Newton’s Laws and the Celestial Clockwork
    • Orbits of the Planets and Moons
  • Light, Optics, and Optical Astronomy
  • The Solar System
  • The Planets
    • Asteroids, Comets, and Meteoroids
  • Radio, Infrared, and High-Energy Astronomy
  • Stars
  • Interstellar Distances
    • Spectral Analysis of Starlight
    • Nuclear Fusion
    • Stellar Evolution
  • Galaxies
  • Other Astronomical Objects
    • Quasars
    • Black Holes
  • Cosmology
    • The Expanding Universe
    • Cosmological Models
    • The Big Bang
    • Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Fate of the Universe
Department Guidelines

Evaluation will be accomplished by examination and homework. 3 Hour Exams 16 2/3% each, total 50%; Final Exam 33 1/3%; Homework 16 2/3%

PO5 should be assessed: Students will be able to solve problems by gathering, interpreting, combining and/or applying information from multiple sources.