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Course Description

Physics - PHYS 104

Introduction to Astronomy (3-2) 4 Cr. Hrs.

Course Description

PHYS 104 is a one-semester introduction to astronomy that utilizes laboratories and basic mathematics to assist in, and expand upon, the exploration of the course topics. Earth-sky relationships, the solar system, stellar astronomy, cosmology and astrobiology will be covered. Several space exploration missions will also be featured. This course is not intended for science majors.


(A requirement that must be completed before taking this course.)

  • MATH 53 or one year of high school algebra.

Course Competencies

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Use the celestial sphere model, the equatorial coordinate system, and the horizontal coordinate system to navigate the sky and explain its changing appearance.
  • Apply the distance ladder methods to determine the distance of celestial objects.
  • Explain the electromagnetic spectrum using the photon and wave models.
  • Apply radiation laws such as Wien's Law, Kirchoff's Laws, Stefan-Boltzmann Law, and Planck's Law to astronomical concepts.
  • Explain the basic principles of geometric image formation and the operation of telescopes.
  • Explain celestial motions, cycles, and configurations.
  • Explain lunar phases, lunar cycles, lunar eclipses, and solar eclipses.
  • Explain how the solar system formed and has evolved.
  • Compare terrestrial and Jovian planets.
  • Classify meteoroids, asteroids, comets, moons, and dwarf planets.
  • Explain the composition and key characteristics of the Sun's interior, exterior, and solar phenomenon.
  • Relate the stellar properties of luminosity, surface temperature, brightness, composition, size, and mass to each other.
  • Explain how stars are born, evolve, and die.
  • Explain the key features of the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Classify galaxies in terms of formation, type, and evolution.
  • Apply Kepler's, Newton's, and Einstein's theories and laws pertaining to space, time, and gravity both mathematically and conceptually.
  • Explain how black holes form, their effect on space-time, and their role in the structure of galaxies.
  • Explain the expansion of the universe, dark matter, and the Big Bang.
  • Explain criteria used to search for extra-terrestrial life.

Course Schedule

 CourseSectionCourse TitleModeCredit HoursInstructorsFeeSeats Available ⁄Capacity ⁄WaitlistStatusDays-Time-Room

Fall; 2017; PHYSICS; No of Weeks : 15; Begins : 8/28/2017

 104145103Intro Astronomy 4Pearse M$150.0012/24/0OpenT R  03:30 PM-05:56 PM F450
 104145104Intro Astronomy 4Alway P$150.003/24/0OpenM W  03:00 PM-05:26 PM F460
 104145151Intro Astronomy 4Alway P$150.008/24/0OpenM W  07:00 PM-09:26 PM F460

Spring; 2017; PHYSICS; No of Weeks : 7; Begins : 5/8/2017

 104125150Intro Astronomy 4Alway P$144.006/24/0OpenM T W R  07:00 PM-09:35 PM F460