Loading Events

« All Events

Virtual Event Virtual Event
Apr 17

Basics of Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos (2024)

April 17 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM EDT

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, repeating until May 1, 2024

Virtual Event Virtual Event
$75 – $85

Register below!

Basics of Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos (2024)

(Formerly Astronomy 102)

Wednesdays, 7-9 PM ET, online.  March 20, 27; April 3, 17, 24; May 1

Stephen’s Quintet
NGC869 Double Cluster – Alfredo Viegas


What lies beyond the solar system? The universe is filled with a fantastic assortment of objects,
from the bright and active to the dark and mysterious. In this course, we’ll explore core
principles of astronomy, such as gravitation, properties of light, and light travel-time. We’ll
survey a variety of celestial bodies and discusses how astronomers gather information to learn
about the cosmos. Beginning with stars we’ll journey out to the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy, other galaxies, and beyond. Along the way, we’ll explore how astronomers measure the vast distances to these far-off objects.

This is an introductory-level, conceptual course. No previous knowledge of astronomy
is required. We won’t get into deep details or mathematical equations. If requested, supplementary material may be referenced for any who want to go deeper into the topics.

We do not cover anything inside our solar system or other planetary systems (planets, moons, exoplanets, comets, exobiology, etc.). It does not cover sky-mapping, purchasing and using telescopes, and constellations. We touch on some astronomical FAQ’s such as dark matter, dark energy, and black holes.
The course uses Zoom, a free service. After registering a confirmation receipt is sent which contains the vital link to our Google Classroom (GC). Click on the GC link immediately to be on the class roster. (You need a non-edu email address.)

The Google Classroom is used for  lecture slides, recordings of classes, supplementary materials, announcements, and discussions. It gives the key Zoom link to get into the class.

Course Outline
March 20 – Intro to the Universe, and Light
A survey of the universe beyond the solar system – what’s out there and how do we learn about
it? An introduction to astronomical units for distance and the “distance ladder,” starting with
parallax. Some telescope basics: aperture, resolution, and the importance of location.
March 27 – Light and Stars
Properties of light, including wavelength, frequency, and velocity. Types of spectra, black body
radiation and temperature. Sorting stars by temperature and luminosity on the HR Diagram.
Next rung of the distance ladder: spectroscopic parallax.
April 3 – Gravity and Stars
Gravitation, from Newton and Einstein, and its influence on stellar evolution. “Extreme stars,”
including neutron, pulsars, dwarfs, black holes. Introduction to gravitational waves and
gravitational redshift. Preview another rung on the ladder: Type 1a supernovae.
April 10 – No class. Some will be returning from the April 8 total solar eclipse.
April 17 – The Milky Way
Types of star clusters and nebulae, and where they’re found in the Milk Way. Anatomy of the
Milky Way Galaxy: bar, disk, halo. Introduction to doppler redshift, radial velocities, dark
matter. Next rung on the distance ladder: Cepheids and other variable stars.
April 24 – Galaxies
Hubble’s Tuning Fork, the Local Group, galactic interactions. Galaxy clusters, more dark matter,
large-scale structure. Climbing the ladder to doppler redshift and Type 1a supernovae, we reach
the expansion of the universe and the Hubble Constant.
May 1 – Beyond the Galaxies
The icing on our cosmic cake: what lies in the farthest reaches of our observable universe?
Quasars, cosmological redshift, the Big Bang, cosmic microwave background radiation, the size
and age of the universe, and an introduction to dark energy.
Instructor: Irene Pease earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Arizona. As
your Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer she has hosted weekly and monthly livestreams covering a variety of astronomy topics. While living in NYC Irene produced the Hayden Planetarium video blog, Skylight, and was a frequent presenter and co-host of Astronomy on Tap NYC, and a presenter for Hayden Planetarium’s Astronomy Live series. Irene also taught physics and astronomy for NYC high schools and colleges. She currently co-hosts astronomy outreach events in Sullivan County and observes from the dark skies of the Catskills. She is a Hayden Associate. Previously she was an instructor in a number of AAA classes, co-host of our AAA-Sky blog, and President of the AAA.

Registration will open here Feb. 29.
$75/$85 non-AAA-member.



April 17
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
$75 – $85
Event Categories: