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ESC 120: Astronomy

Course Description

This course will focus on an introduction to astronomy for non-science majors. Topics covered include the night sky, light and telescopes, the solar system, the lives of stars, and the origin and structure of the universe. To be successful in this course, students should have competency in solving algebraic formulas.         (3 credits)

Recommended Prerequisite

  • High school Algebra

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between the different apparent and actual motions of objects visible in the night sky.
  2. Explain how light behaves and telescopes function.
  3. Compare and contrast the members of the solar system and classify them by their important properties.
  4. Describe the basic structure and workings of the sun, and apply that understanding to stars in general (including their properties and evolution).
  5. Distinguish between the various components and structures found in the Milky Way and compare and contrast our galaxy with others.
  6. Explain the overall structure, origin, and potential fate of the universe, utilizing both theoretical and observational evidence.
  7. Summarize current scientific understanding of the origin of life on earth and the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the universe.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

AssignmentsPointsWeight

Discussions (10 points each; two each week)

300

30%

Homework (40 points each; one set of questions each week)

600

60%

Capstone Project (100 points including: participation in Capstone Discussion Board forums [total of 20 points]

and the video presentation [80 points], due by the end of Week 12)

100

10%

Total

1000

100%

Required Textbooks

This course uses Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are openly licensed, educational resources that can be used for teaching, learning and research. OER may consist of a variety of resources such as textbooks, videos and software that are no cost for students. The textbook for this course is an ebook available through OpenStax at no cost to students: Fraknoi, Andrew et al. Astronomy

If students would like a print copy, there will be a fee through Amazon but a print copy is not required.

Course Schedule

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments

1

1

Our Place in the Universe
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 1 and 2
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions
  • Review Capstone Project Instructions

2

1

Motion
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 3 and 4
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

3

2

Light and Telescopes
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 5 and 6
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

4

3

Introduction to Earth and the Solar System
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 7 and 8
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions
  • Post to Capstone Project Discussion Board Part 1 Forum due

5

3

Terrestrial Planets
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 9 and 10
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

6

3

Outer Planets
  • Readings: Chapters 11 and 12
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

7

3

Origin of the Solar System
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 13 and 14
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

8

4

Sun
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 15 and 16
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions
  • Capstone Project Discussion Board Part 2 Forum due

9

4

Properties of Stars
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 17 and 18
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

10

4

Between the Stars
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 19 and 20
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

11

4

Evolution of Stars
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 21 and 22
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions

12

4

Deaths of Stars
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 23 and 24
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions
  • Capstone Project video due
  • Capstone Project Discussion Board Part 3 Forum post due

13

5

Milky Way and Other Galaxies
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 25 and 26
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions.
  • Capstone Project Discussion Board Part 3 Forum participation

14

5,6

Evolution of Galaxies
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 27 and 28
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions.
  • Capstone Project Discussion Board Part 3 Forum participation

15

6,7

Origin of the Universe (and Life in it)
  • Readings:
    • Chapters 29 and 30
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Complete and submit Homework questions.
  • Capstone Project Nobel Prize Winner Vote due
  • Complete Course Evaluation

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.