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Has anyone taken an astronomy class

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    what do you learn in an astronomy class, considering taking one , this is not at a university, but at a junior college. Just curious about what topics are covered.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2


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    Depends - there is quite a lot of astronomy to cover!

    Assuming this is an intro, none maths heavy sort of course it will probably cover general intro, stars, planets, galaxies, the big bang.
    Perhaps steller structure and evolution - nuclear reactions in stars, the HR diagram.

    It might also have observing techniques, astronomical coordinate systems, using telescopes etc if they have an observatory.
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    In my astronomy 101 class at a community college, all of the above was covered, though in a very brief, superficial way. The only thing that got even slightly deep was learning how to read and classify stellar spectra.
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4
    This is about how mine was as well.

    No math at all and everything was open book. Very general. Just think of it for what it is; a general type class to help you decide your major. If you want something that gets into any sort of depth, you'll probably want to take a higher level one. And from what I learned in my class, I'm sure you'd be okay skipping this and taking the next level class.

    I can relate it to a chem class I took. First one was a 101 type class. No real math, very very general. Then a few years later I took a 1000 level class. Way more math, way more detailed. Made the chem 101 class seem like a total waste of time.
  6. Nov 8, 2009 #5


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    Very few institutions, and I would wager no community colleges, have an intense calculus-based intro astronomy course. There is often a very sharp separation between the 100 level description and at the most formula utilization (plug numbers into kepler's laws!) classes, and then the upper level classes which presuppose several years of physics and mathematics.

    If what people are describing sounds like what you might be interested in, then go for it. But don't expect #2.
  7. Nov 9, 2009 #6
    i took astronomy 2 this past summer and am currently enrolled in astronomy 1. i dont attend the class because it moves at too remedial a pace, and i usually have something to do in my lab that would be more productive than watching a man try to explain the doppler effect or retrograde motion to people who do not and may never understand it. The material itself is very interesting, especially in astronomy 2. I have learned a number of new things that I didn't know before taking it. I would highly recommend this course, even if it means skipping your lectures and reading the chapters yourself for the tests.

    It would be nice to have mid-level astronomy class available to people who have taken modern physics, but you can't have everything, and not everyone wants to take their science credits that late in their undergrad career

    Topics we touched on in the two semesters were characterization of the planets, planetary motion (the concepts, no real math), expansion of the universe, the structures of stars, galaxies, nebulae, dust clouds, and local systems, formation of stars and their evolution and death, evidence supporting the big bang theory, interpretation of spectra and other methods used to range stars, and others
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