Course Syllabus – Astronomy
Text: Foundations of Astronomy 11th edition, M. Seeds, D. Backman
Astronomy is a course studying the objects and processes in the universe. The course will help students
to understand the very nature of scientific process through a variety of classroom investigations. Astronomy
examines the existence of matter and energy in the universe, therefore attempting to explain its (and our) origin.
While celestial objects such as stars, nebula, galaxies and quasars may be far removed from our location, these
objects are directly linked to understanding basic scientific methods and principles that ultimately explain our
place in the cosmos.
1. All students demonstrate knowledge and application of mechanics relating to the celestial sphere.
2. All students demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between energy and matter.
3. All students demonstrate knowledge of stellar processes related to evolution, synthesis of elements and
calculating universal age.
4. All students demonstrate knowledge of cosmological models.
5. All students demonstrate knowledge of planetary processes relating to formation, differentiation and
6. All students demonstrate ability to solve mathematical applications relating to astronomy.
7. All students demonstrate ability to formulate hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and develop a logical
conclusion utilizing the scientific method.
1. Students will be responsible for daily textbook readings.
2. Exam will be given for each chapter(s)/unit covered.
3. Labs/activities will take place numerous times throughout each unit.
4. Quizzes will occur within each chapter/unit.
5. Mathematics is an integral part of this class. A calculator which handles complex functions is required
(calculators on cell phones or other electronic devices are not permitted).
6. Written homework will be assigned for each chapter/unit covered. This homework could come from the
end of the chapter questions, or could be a class activity which needs to be finished at home.
7. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher(s) on the day he/she returns from the absence to
make arrangements to make up any missed assignments and/or assessments. All missed assignments
and/or assessments must be made up within three school days from the day the student returns from the
8. Students will acquire and process celestial images using telescopic equipment and using an on-line
Grading (approximate percentages)
Home Activities 15%
Unit I: Exploring The Sky
Chapter 1 Here and Now
Chapter 2 The Sky
Chapter 3 Cycles of the Sky
Chapter 4 The Origin of Modern Astronomy
Chapter 5 Gravity
Chapter 6 Light and Telescopes
Unit II: The Stars
Chapter 7 Atoms and Starlight
Chapter 8 The Sun
Chapter 9 The Family of Stars
Chapter 10 The Interstellar Medium
Chapter 11 The Formation and Structure of Stars
Chapter 12 Stellar Evolution
Chapter 13 The Deaths of Stars
Chapter 14 Neutron Stars and Black Holes
Unit III: The Universe
Chapter 15 The Milky Way Galaxy
Chapter 16 Galaxies
Chapter 17 Active Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes
Chapter 18 Modern Cosmology
Unit IV: The Solar System
Chapter 19 The Origin of the Solar System
Chapter 20 Earth: The Standard of Comparative Planetology
Chapter 21 The Moon and Mercury: Comparing Airless Worlds
Chapter 22 Comparative Planetology of Venus and Mars
Chapter 23 Comparative Planetology of Jupiter and Saturn
Chapter 24 Uranus, Neptune, and the Dwarf Planets
Chapter 25 Meteorites, Asteroids and Comets
Unit V: Life
Chapter 26 Astrobiology: Life on Other Worlds