PHYS 102: General Astronomy

Course Description

A survey of modern astronomy with emphasis on the structure and dynamics of stars, galaxies and the universe. Current theories of cosmic origins. Three lecture, three laboratory hours each week. Lab Science or 2nd Science. Liberal Arts.

Astronomy is both ancient and modern. Although it had its beginning with the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks, it continues to be one of the frontier areas in science. Astronomy takes ideas and techniques from such diverse fields as mechanics, optics, electromagnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, chemistry, and biology. In turn, it contributes information and methodologies back to these fields.

Useful Information

Class Time                         TR 8:00-10:50 AM, Paine 118
Instructor                           Dr. Aikens
Office Hours                      
MW 3:30-5 PM, Paine 108

Help Session                      M 6-8 PM
Location                             Paine 118
Teaching                            Andrew Redman




Course Schedule
Term paper hints






Problem Set #1
Problem Set #2
Problem Set #3
Problem Set #4
Problem Set #5
Problem Set #6
Problem Set #7
Problem Set #8




#1 — Logical Fallacies
#2 — How Big is the Universe?
#3 — How Do We Map the Sky?
#4 — How Does the Earth Move?
#5 — How Does the Moon Move?
#6 — How Do We Know the Sun is the Center?
#7 — Why Do Planets Move in Orbits?
#8 — What Are Time and Space?
#9 — How Does a Telescope Work?
#10 — What Makes a Good Telescope?
#11 — Measuring Stars’ Temperature?
#12 — What is the Universe Made From?
#13 — What is the Sun?
#14 — Energy from the Sun?
#15 — How Are Stars Different?
#16 — How Much Do Stars Weigh?
#17 — How Do Stars Form?
#18 — Do Stars Age?
#19 — When Stars Run Out of Fuel?
#20 — What is a Black Hole?
#21 — What is Our Galaxy Like?
#22 — Are There Different Types of Galaxies?
#23 — What is the Big Bang Theory?
#24 — Problems with the Big Bang?