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Lecture01 - Welcome to Astronomy 100 Prof Bryan Dunne NASA...

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Welcome to Astronomy 100! NASA Prof. Bryan Dunne 1 Welcome to Astronomy 100: Introduction to Astronomy. My name is Bryan Dunne, and I’ll be your guide on a journey from our Earth to the farthest reaches of the Universe. In this course, you will get an understanding of the big astronomical picture. We will survey what astronomy teaches us about the physical universe, including many of the latest discoveries, such as extrasolar planets, the search for life in the universe, black holes, and dark matter and dark energy.
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Course Goals What is our place in the cosmos? Not just where we are Processes that shaped the Universe and our planet How do we know? The Scientific Method Science as a human enterprise 2 There are two basic course goals for Astronomy 100: The first course goal is you to begin to understand our place in the cosmos: This doesn't only mean our "cosmic address," but also how the evolutionary processes that have shaped the universe shaped our home, planet Earth. Our second course goal is “How do we know?”: It is just as important to know how humanity has learned to understand the universe as it is to understand "what we know" about the universe today. In this course, we will explore science as a way of learning about nature through observation, experimentation, and theory - called the scientific method - and also to understand it as a creative, human, and often messy process.
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Astronomy is derived from the Greek astronomos : astron = star nomos = a system of laws Today, astronomy is the study of the physical nature of celestial objects e.g., Planets, stars, and galaxies It is the study of the Universe in which we live What is Astronomy? White House Photo 3 So, the first question is “What is Astronomy?” The word astronomy is derived from the Greek astronomos: astron = star nomos = a system of laws Today "Astronomy" is synonymous with "Astrophysics", the study of the physics of celestial objects; the solar system and its constituents, the properties, birth, life and death of stars, interstellar gas and dust, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and finally the study of the Universe as a whole ("Cosmology"). We are confined to a small planet circling an average star. The study of astronomy can take you beyond these boundaries and help you not only see where you are in the Universe but understand what you are.
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How Big is the Universe? Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team 4 Astronomy will introduce you to sizes, distances, and times far beyond your usual experience on Earth. It can be a challenge to grasp the meaning of these unfamiliar sizes, distances, and times. The solution lies in a single word—scale. Let’s compare objects of di ff erent sizes in order to comprehend the scale of the universe and think about the question, “How big is the Universe?”
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Our Earth A view of planet Earth, about 13,000 km (8,000 miles) in diameter NASA 5 Here is our home, Earth, which is about 13,000 km (or 8,000 miles) in diameter.
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This image shows the relative sizes of the Sun, planets,
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