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Basic facts you will learn:

The meaning of parallax

The importance of geometrical methods through the centuries in astronomy

The observational basis for the Ptolemaic geocentric model

The meaning of celestial matter to the ancients

The revolutionary worldview shift of heliocentrism

The impact of Newtonian mechanics on our understanding of the cosmos

The essential role of spectroscopy in understanding the cosmos

How astronomers met the challenge of measuring astronomical distances

The impact of General Relativity on our understanding of the cosmos

The observational basis for the expanding universe

The origin of the chemical elements

How dark matter and dark energy affect cosmological evolution

** Course Content in Outline Form.
Check instructor's web page for important due dates.**

Text: M.J. Crowe, "Theories of the World from Antiquity to the
Copernican
Revolution", Ch 1-9

**Week -1- **Description of Celestial Motion; key ideas from
Aristotle's "Physics" pertaining to motion; Greek Astronomy before
Ptolemy;Some
mathematical techniques used by the ancient astronomers;sources of
ancient
Chinese astronomy (Zhou bi suan jing document)

**Week -2 -** The Ptolemaic system; discussion of a philosophical
position called "Save the Phenomena"; The Copernican system;

Recommended Text: M.J.Crowe,"Modern Theories of the Universe from Herschel to Hubble", Ch 1-9. This book may only be available used. The online lecture notes contain sufficient material to cover the second half of the course.

**Week - 5- Normally a midterm exam held in this week.** Check
with instructor. Success
of Newtonian mechanics in describing celestial mechanics; the
importance
of telescopes in the history of astronomy; Edmond Halley's
contributions;
determination of astronomical distances; significance of the Milky Way
to understanding the galactic structure

**Week - 6 -** Thomas
Wright , Immanuel Kant, and the disk theory
of the galaxy; William Herschel's discoveries; Olber's paradox;
cataloging
nebulous objects.

**Week - 7 -** stellar parallax and the distance to stars;
identification
of chemical composition of distant bodies and the use of spectroscopy
in
astronomy; discovery of radiation outside the visible spectrum; William
Huggins, pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy; Doppler shift; second
written report(3-4 pages) due.

The remaining time of the course may use as a supplement to the Lecture Notes a Scientific American compilation of articles on modern cosmology. This is listed below as the "Once and Future Universe". You can get your own copy or use a version on the A360 website.

Week - 9 -

**Week - 10 -** Discovery of cosmic infra-red background
radiation;
successes of the Big Bang theory; paradoxes of the Big Bang theory and
their resolution by the Inflationary Universe theory; dark matter or a
failure of Newtonian gravity?; possible final states of the Universe;
Term paper(6-8 pages) is due.

**Grading**

The course grade will be determined by two written reports(3-4 pages)
; on the term paper(6-8 pages) which will be on a
subject
chosen from a list of possible topics given by the instructor or
approved by the instructor;
on the field report describing the results of the determination of the
earth's radius; and on the midterm and final exams. All written papers
must include a bibliography whose entries are cited in the paper. At
least one reference must be a book or refereed journal article. Web
references are not refereed, so you can never be sure that what is
written on a web page is not just some individual's point of view. Web references must include the url.
The papers are to be factual reports and not personal essays. You can
use the citation scheme that is standard for your
major field of study.

1) two short papers (3-4 pages), due in
Weeks 4 and 7. You may substitute one or both of these papers by the exercises listed below.

**EXERCISES**

A geometrical exercise of geocentric to heliocentic conversion.

Determination
of the distance to the moon exercise.

Tabulate and plot Messier objects distribution.

2) term paper(6-8 pages), due in week
10

3) field exercise report on radius of
the earth due in Week 8 or 9

4) midterm exam and final exam

A sampling of term paper or short paper subjects is, for example,

- Discussion of the "Save the Phenomena " position in ancient and
modern
science

- How do the notions of a finite sized Universe and a beginning and
end of time fit in with our every day experience of space and time?

- Discussion of the axiom that " nothing can be created from nothing"
and the Inflationary Universe Theory

- What are the limits of scientific knowledge? Will we every come to
a final theory?

- Compare the concepts of dark matter and celestial matter.

- Biographical account of a significant figure in astronomy with
special
emphasis on his/her scientific contributions

- Discussion of techniques in astronomy, e.g., spectroscopy,
telescopes,
methods of determining distances

- Discussion of the impact of revolutionary astronomical ideas on areas
of human interest outside of the field of astronomy itself

-Report on the mathematical/scientific development of Astronomy in
countries outside the Mediterranean basin. This should include as
little
mythology as possible, although some may be unavoidable.

-Discussion of some current area of research in astronomy, black holes,
dark energy, etc.

- If you have a different topic in mind for the term paper or short
paper, please clear it with the instructor before you
start.

**A List of some useful web sites**

Useful web sites

Lectures on Modern Cosmology by Stephen Hawking http://www.hawking.org.uk/.

The Scientific American Compilation is here The Once and Future Universe.

Web site for the Rise of Natural Law, http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/kaniol/a360/natural_law.htm

U.S. Naval Observatory home
page http://www.usno.navy.mil//

applications
,
http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications

Find your latitude and longitude

Astrometry, finding the precise locations and distances to the stars

Hipparcos
satellite,
results

plans for future astrometry missions GAIA
satellite

ADA statement: Reasonable accomodation will be provided to any
student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities
and requests needed accomodation.

Academic Honesty statement: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/senate/handbook/ch5a.htm