If all the matter in the universe suddenly disappeared, would space still exist? Isaac Newton thought so. Space, he imagined, was something like Star Trek’s holodeck, a 3-dimensional virtual-reality grid onto which simulated people and places and things are projected. As Newton put it in the early pages of his Principia: “Absolute space, of its own nature, without reference to anything external, always remains homogeneous and immovable.”
From Planets to the Cosmos (Astronomy 1101) is an overview of astronomy from our solar system to the universe as a whole. Designed for non-science majors, this course is organized around three overarching and interconnected themes:
The Long Copernican Revolution: the historical discovery of the nature of our solar system, and our on-going discovery of planetary systems around other stars.
The Lives of the Stars: the nature and evolution of stars and black holes, and the origin of the chemical elements we find in nature.
The Cosmos: the history of galaxies and the universe, evidence for the Big Bang, and the structure of the universe on its largest scales.
This course will review the facts that astronomers have learned about these topics, describe the outstanding scientific problems at the frontiers of current research, illustrate ways in which physical principles are used to understand the universe, and show how scientific theories are developed and tested against observations.
Twenty years ago we knew of exactly one planetary system: our own. Today we know of more than 1000 confirmed planets around other stars, with a few thousand more candidate systems awaiting confirmation.
Life in the Universe is an introduction to Astrobiology for non-science majors. The topics covered in this course lie at the interfaces between Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, and the Earth and Planetary sciences. We will learn about scientists' ongoing quest for answers to some of the most fundamental human questions: How did life originate on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? Are we alone in the universe? What is the long-term future of life in the universe?
NASA officially has launched a new resource to help the public search and download out-of-this-world images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata searches from NASA.gov. The NASA Image and Video Library website consolidates imagery spread across more than 60 collections into one searchable location.
A tediously accurate map of our solar system.