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Welcome to Astronomy

A presentation to start the semester.

Carrie Fitzgerald

on 23 January 2012

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Transcript of Welcome to Astronomy

Welcome to
Astronomy 101

What is this class about?
The history of astronomy and the evolution of
scientific ideas.
The nature, scope, and evolution of the universe, and where the Earth and solar system fit in.
A cosmic perspective!
Astronomy is not for making profits. It has no political power. It will not make a better mousetrap, it will not grow more food or create clean energy. It will not feed the hungry or cure the sick.
Is knowledge for the sake of knowledge an impractical luxury?
Our desire to know, to learn, our curiousity, our wonder- these are what make us....
The quest to understand the universe elevates us.
You will be awestruck and inspired!

Numinous is an adjective that means "surpassing comprehension or understanding".
Why study Astronomy?
What's in it for you?
What is your role?
The beauty and mechanics of the night sky.
What can you see in the sky?
When can you see it?
How do celestial objects move?
How does the sky change with location on Earth and season?
Nicolas Copernicus
Tycho Brahe
Johannes Kepler
Galileo Galilei
Isaac Newton
Sir William Herschel
Caroline Herschel
Charles Messier
How big is the Universe?

What is the fate of the Universe?

What is dark matter?
The night sky

The history of astronomy

The techniques and tools used in astronomy

Stars, galaxies, and cosmology
Tools & Techniques:

(I don't think so.)
No other subject deals with such vast distances or unimaginably long time scales.
This is the Andromeda Galaxy. It is 2.5 million light years away from Earth.
You can see this object with your naked eye if the sky is dark enough.
(The light that you see tonight from this galaxy left the galaxy 2.5 million years ago.)


Be earnest

ask questions

answer questions

interact with your peers

learn by teaching!
Read the text!

Read the labs!

Look in the news for astronomy articles.
"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." -Thomas Alva Edison
Don't do anything halfway.

Be here fully, or be somewhere else.

You will never regret having worked hard.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." -Henry David Thoreau
Live the life you have imagined!
(besides the course credit)



You will know so much!

From the phases of the Moon to relativity and quantum mechanics...

From the origin of the Solar System to the fate of the Universe...
You will be a better thinker!

critical thinking
quantitative reasoning
ability to follow scientific arguments in the media
This image contains about 10,000 galaxies.
What is numinous for you?
This photo of Earth was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft when it was at a distance of 3.7 billion miles from Earth.

Can you see Earth?
Annie Jump Cannon
Ejnar Hertzsprung
Henry Norris Russell
Karl Schwarzschild
Albert Einstein
Edwin Hubble
Arno Penzias
Robert Wilson
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Not a complete list...
Music "Fade Away" by H.U.V.A. Network
Full transcript