AST101_fall2011_course_outline_v3 - Astronomy 101 Course...

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Astronomy 101 Course Outline, Fall 2011 Dr. M. Reid and Dr. M. van Kerkwijk Course Description and Prerequisites AST 101 is one of two general-interest courses in astronomy taught at the University of Toronto. This course deals with the nearby universe, mainly our solar system and recently discovered exoplanets. The complementary course, AST 201, deals with the more distant universe, including stars other than the Sun, galaxies, and cosmology. The past few decades of robotic and telescopic exploration of our solar system and planets orbiting other stars have revealed planets in fascinating detail. We will begin AST 101 by getting acquainted with our place in the cosmos. We will then discuss gravity, orbits, and the structure of the solar system. We will briefly discuss the naked-eye view of the night sky and, at around this time, we will start taking you into our new planetarium in small groups to get you acquainted with the sky. We will move on to discuss the different types of planets in the solar system and the many minor bodies in it contains, including moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets. This part of the course will be heavily pictorial, focused on the latest results from spacecraft currently exploring the planets. You will see pictures of the planets as they are released! We will then discuss the Sun and the role it plays in “powering” the solar system. We will discuss planets in other solar systems, emphasizing the many recent discoveries of such planets. We will conclude with a discussion of the possibility of life existing elsewhere in the cosmos and our prospects of making contact with such life. This course is intended for students with no science or engineering background. AST 101 cannot be taken for credit by those who are taking or have previously taken AST 221H, Civil 101H, or any 100-level or higher-series Chemistry or Physics courses (with the exception of PHY 100H and CHM 200Y). If you are unsure whether you can take AST 101 for credit, consult Lillian Lanca ([email protected]) in the main astronomy office. Course Objectives Our hope is that you will see Astronomy 101 as an opportunity to indulge your curiosity about the universe you live in. You should enjoy taking this course. We will cover some essential topics, but we will make every effort to leave time for questions, which are strongly encouraged! Our goals in this course are: to encourage a sense of awe and appreciation for the topics investigated in modern astrophysics to familiarize ourselves with our place in the universe to familiarize ourselves with the amazing discoveries now being made about our solar system to learn how to think critically about concepts in astronomy, physics, and space science Important Dates Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 14:00-15:00 in Convocation Hall, starting September 13 Tutorials start: September 19; see Blackboard for room assignments Planetarium shows start: September 26, 50 St. George Street room 79 (in the basement)
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2011 for the course AST 101 taught by Professor Mochnacki/abraham during the Fall '08 term at University of Toronto.

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AST101_fall2011_course_outline_v3 - Astronomy 101 Course...

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