An introduction to astronomy and the Solar System. Hierarchy and motions of objects in space. Distance measurements. Thumbnail sketch of history and physics of astronomy. Details of the Solar System: sun, moon, planets, asteroids, meteors, comets. Seasons and tides on Earth. Recommended for new AAA members and interested friends/family, and as a review for continuing members who want to take our more specialized classes also. Stellarium computer simulations will be used to illustrate selected topics.
Online course via Zoom, Wednesdays, 7 PM, Nov.-Dec. 2021
Registrants receive web links to the Zoom “meetings” and the Google Classroom (GC) which is used for downloads and messaging.
November 3: Earth, stars, constellations
Hierarchy, distances, hierarchy of objects in space. Rotation and revolution. Polaris, the North Star. Constellations. Precession.
November 10: Planets
Definition and overview of the planets. Orrery. Retrograde motion. Major and dwarf planets. The ecliptic and nebular hypothesis. The Zodiac. Thumbnail sketches of the major planets for independent study.
December 1: The moon
Phases. Eclipses. Tides. Changes in size of disks of sun and moon. Supermoon. Tidal locking. Earthshine. Moon illusion.
December 8: Seasons, Solar System
Units for measurement. Origin and “equation” for the seasons. Inventory of solar system. Details on asteroids, meteoroids, comets.
December 15: Brief survey of historical figures and key physics
Ancient and persistent concepts of the world. Geocentric and heliocentric views.
Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Newton.
Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion.
Newton’s three laws of motion and Law of Gravitation.
December 22: The sun, our nearby star
Nuclear fusion- the sun’s energy source. Structure of sun and stars. Their delicate hydrostatic equilibrium.
The milky way, Milky Way Galaxy, and four types of nebulae in our night sky. Previews some topics explored in Astronomy 102.
Instructors: David Kiefer holds various Masters degrees, including a M.S. in astronomy from the Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia. He has taught physics and astronomy at colleges in New York and New Jersey, and is presently a lecturer at Brooklyn College. A member of the AAA, Mr. Kiefer observes at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and at upstate sites. He also teaches AAA Classes and is Chairman of the Classes Committee.
Joel Gonzalez, our Teaching assistant, will present Stellarium simulations of selected topics.
Starting Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022: a sequel to this class.
Astronomy 102: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. On objects and events beyond the Solar System