From 2022, "Sun, Earth and Universe" will be renamed "Introduction to Astronomy"
This paper provides a primarily descriptive approach to understanding the Sun-Earth system, and its place in the wider Universe. Lecture topics include ancient, classical, and modern astronomy, stellar evolution, supernovae, black holes, cosmology, and the exploration of the solar system. Special topics included are: "The size and age of the universe", "The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence", and "What would be the effect of a large meteor impact on the Earth?" The importance of historical aspects and the progressive development of ideas will be emphasized, with a minimum of mathematics. This course is intended for students who have an interest in a broad education. We aim to facilitate a continuing interest in Astronomy and space exploration.
The course consists of 24 lectures, 6 one-hour tutorial sessions and 6 three-hour laboratory classes. There is a mid-school test and two essays.
Professor Craig Rodger
|The size of the Universe, notation|
|A sense of time|
|Ancient astronomy and astrology|
|Parallax, astronomical systems and distance measurements|
|Galileo, Newton and the telescope|
|Spectroscopy and the classification of stars|
|Hertzsprung–Russell diagram and spectroscopic parallax|
|Fission, fusion and proto stars|
|Main sequence stars; death of stars|
|Exotic stars (Neutron stars, Black holes, etc)|
|Our solar system; our Sun|
|The biggest rulers & galaxy formation|
|Hubble's law, the big bang and cosmology|
|Life in the Universe & SETI|
|Textbook:Seeds and Backman (Foundations of Astronomy, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 14th edition, 2019) |
Introduction to modern astronomy with a minimum of mathematics, exploring the Sun-Earth system and our place in the universe. Topics include the history of astronomy, stellar evolution, planets, and cosmology.
Special topics included are: "the size and age of the universe", "the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence" and "what would be the effect of a large meteor impact on the Earth?" This paper is intended for students who have an interest in a broad education. We aim to facilitate a continuing interest in astronomy and space exploration.
|Paper title||Introduction to Astronomy|
|Teaching period||Summer School (On campus)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,141.35|
|International Tuition Fees||Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.|
- Schedule C
- This paper is not a prerequisite for Physics 200-Level major subject requirements.
- Teaching staff
Recommended textbook; Seeds and Backman (Foundations of Astronomy, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 14th edition, 2019)
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation. View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
Students completing this paper will:
- Be aware of the essential aspects of our understanding of the wider universe
- Know the importance of historical aspects and the progressive development of ideas
- Grasp the range of scale sizes and numerical values needed to describe astronomical scales of time, space and mass