Course Description

Course number: ASTR-2120

Instructor: Professor Douglas Whittet

Earth & Sky is a 4-credit, 200-level course. Its primary aims are to encourage students to discover the wonders of observing the night-time sky, both with the unaided eye and through telescopic observation, and to learn the basics of observational astronomy. Related topics in Earth Sciences are also discussed, especially what we can learn by studying our home planet from orbiting satellites.

Earth & Sky is designed to appeal to non-physics and non-science majors as well as those committed to specialization in Astronomy. The discussion is non-mathematical in the sense that no detailed mathematical theories or calculations are presented or required. Students taking the course are expected to have some general knowledge of physics and astronomy (which can be acquired by background reading if necessary), and they should be comfortable with interpreting simple plots.

The related upper-level undergraduate course Observational Astronomy shares the same lectures as Earth & Sky but has more advanced laboratories and additional homework. If you are a science or engineering major you may wish to consider taking the more advanced course. If you are planning to complete a minor degree in Astronomy or Astrophysics then you need to take Observational Astronomy.