University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Ast 1005.001

Descriptive Astronomy

Session: Summer 2014 (6/05-7/11)
Instructor: Taryn Heilman (e-mail: heilman @
Time: 0905 MW 0905 MWF
Location: Phys 166

This course is a scientific exploration of the human place in the universe. We study the origin and history of the University and the formation of the Earth and the solar system. We compare the Earth's properties with those of the other planets and explore how the heavens have influenced human thought and action. This course includes study of the properties of light and matter and the tools astronomers use to measure radiation from celestial sources. The course also covers exciting contemporary topics such as black holes, the expansion of the universe and the search for extraterrestrial life. Although largely descriptive, the course will occasionally require the use of junior-high level mathematics. Lectures are three days a week; on a 4th day each week two hours are spent in small groups working on a lab project. This course is intended for non-science majors; no science background is necessary. CSE students should take AST 1011H.

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