Summertime Stargazing Outline

by Chris Carosa

Summertime Stargazing

5 Classes:

Course Objectives:

  1. Learn about celestial objects;
  2. Learn about telescopes;
  3. Learn about constellations.

Course Outline:

Class 1:     Introduction, Objectives, Celestial Objects.

  1. Housekeeping.
    1. Class Introduction.
    2. Class Schedule.
    3. Fun Trivia Test.
    4. Class Votes for Optional/Cloudy Night Topics
  2. Class Objectives.
    1. Learn about celestial objects.
      1. Composition
      2. Origin
      3. Impact on Ancient Philosophers.
      4.  History of Significant Discoveries.
    2. Learn about telescopes.
      1. Initial Uses.
      2. Mechanical Explanation.
      3. How to Choose and Use.
    3. Learn about constellations.
      1. List the most popular constellations.
      2. Discuss their place in mythology.
      3. How to find them in the sky.
  3. Celestial Objects.
    1. Philosophical History of Astronomy.
      1. Historical Aspects of Man’s Quest for Understanding via Observation.
        1. Significance of it all.
        2. Means of measurement.
        3. Philosophical beginnings.
          1. Plato.
          2. Aristotle.
          3. Kant.
          4. Intellectual Prerequisite.
    2. Basics of Cosmology (Optional/Student Selection).
      1. General Theories of Cosmology (in chronological order).
        1. Evolutionary Models.
        2. Steady-State.
        3. Oscillating Universe.
      2. Bad Points of Steady State.
      3. Evidence of Big Bang.
    3. Advanced Cosmology (Optional/Student Selection).
      1. The First Three Minutes@ of the Big Bang.
        1. Singularity
        2. Physics of Creation.
        3. Hadronic Era.
        4. Leptonic Era.
        5. Nucleosynthesis Era.
        6. End of Radiation Era.
        7. Hydrogen Recombination.
      2. Galactic Evolution.
        1. Elliptical Galaxies.
        2. Spiral Galaxies.
        3. Irregular Galaxies.
    4. Stellar Evolution (Optional/Student Selection).
      1. Background.
        1. Number.
        2. Distances.
        3. Physics of Star Light.
      2. Classification (H-R Diagram).
        1. Brightness (compared to sun).
        2. Size.
        3. Density.
        4. Color.
        5. Magnitude (apparent).
        6. Formal Classification System.
      3. Star Types.
        1. Double.
        2. Variable.
      4. Evolution.
        1. Gas Cloud.
        2. Thermonuclear Fusion.
        3. T Tauri Stage.
        4. Main Sequence.
        5. Red Giant.
        6. Small Stars.
          1. White Dwarf.
          2. Black Dwarf.
        7. Medium Stars.
          1. HB Phase.
          2. Helium Flash.
          3. Planetary Nebula.
          4. White Dwarf.
          5. Black Dwarf.
        8. Large Stars.
          1. HB Phase.
          2. Helium Flash.
          3. Planetary Nebula.
          4. Red Supergiant.
          5. Supernova.
          6. Type I – Neutron Star.
          7. Type II – Black Hole.
      5. Cosmogony (Optional/Student Selection).
        1. Prior to 1950 – Star passes by.
        2. Since – Nebular Hypothesis.
          1. Current Examples.
          2. Rene Descartes (1644) – Monistic Theory.
          3. Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1745) – Dualistic Theory.
          4. Immanual Kant and Pierre Simon de Laplace (Monistics).
          5. Today – Monastics in favor.
        3. The Planets.
          1. Rocky.
          2. Icy.
          3. Gaseous.
        4. The Original Cloud.
        5. Planetary Formation.
        6. Sun – Planets – Dust.

Class 2:     Star Theatre.

  1. Brief Continuance of Celestial Objects from Class 1.
  2. Introduction of Star Theatre Lesson.
  3. (After Star Theatre) Class Discussion of Star Theatre Lesson.

Class 3:     Using the Telescope/Observing Session.

  1. Telescopes.
    1. Background and History.
      1. Definition.
      2. History
    2. Types of Telescopes and their Optics.
      1. Refracting Telescope.
      2. Reflecting Telescope.
      3. Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope.
    3. Choosing a Telescope.
      1. Identifying Primary Purpose.
      2. Typical Price Ranges.
      3. Sources
      4. Telescopes vs. Binoculars.
    4. Using the Telescope You Choose.
  2. Observing Session #1 – The Circumpolar Constellations.
    1. Identifying the Constellations.
    2. Interesting Celestial Objects.
    3. Mythology: The Story of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
    4. Celestial Navigation.
    5. Observing Techniques (on the Observation Deck).

Class 4:     Observing Techniques/Observing Session.

  1. Optional Student Celestial Objects Selection.
  2. Observing Session #2 – The Summer Triangle Constellations.
    1. Identifying the Constellations.
    2. Interesting Celestial Objects.
    3. Mythology: The Story of Andromeda and Perseus.
    4. The Perseid Meteor Shower.
    5. Observing Techniques (on the Observation Deck).

Class 5:     Observing Techniques/Observing Session.

  1. Optional Student Celestial Objects Selection.
  2. Observing Session #1 – The Southern Constellations.
    1. Identifying the Constellations.
    2. Interesting Celestial Objects.
    3. Mythology: The Story of Orion and Scorpio.
    4. The Planets and the Zodiacal Constellations.
    5. Observing Techniques (on the Observation Deck).

 

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