Course Summary
Credit Type:
Organization's ID:
NS 115
Self-paced (180 days)
Dates Offered:
Credit Recommendation & Competencies
Level Credits (SH) Subject
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 introduction to astronomy


The course objective is to provide students with a comprehensive, practical introduction to astronomy with an emphasis on critical thinking about humanity's place in the universe. Students will seek to understand the modern view of the universe with supporting theories and observations while emphasizing the science behind astronomy. Key concepts of astronomy will be discussed and explored such as motion, energy, gravity and light. The course then goes into detail about the formation of the Solar System including Earth and the terrestrial worlds, the Jovian Planet Systems, asteroids and comets, and expands outward to a look at galaxies and the entire universe. Students will also explore mysterious objects and events such as black holes, quasars, and supernovae, and discuss the possibility of life outside of Earth.

Learning Outcomes:

  • understand the principles, processes and techniques that form the basis of modern astronomy
  • describe the solar system and earth in relationship to other planetary systems and galaxies
  • understand Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion and their relationship to the underlying force of gravity
  • understand how planets formed and compare and contrast the atmospheric evolution of earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Moon
  • understand the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, becoming comfortable reading and plotting it to learn more about stars, white dwarfs and planets
  • understand what a black hole is and the basic theories involving them
  • explain how galaxies form and function, taking a closer look at the milky way and scientific theories about the expansion of the universe and life on other planets beyond earth
  • understand how to apply scientific knowledge to astronomical phenomena and use analytical and problem-solving skills
  • understand that astronomical events can occur on timescales much longer than human lifetimes, making it difficult to track the evolution of individual objects through space
  • analyze and debate scientific theories on the evolution of the universe
  • explain how light, motion, energy and gravity affect objects in space, orbits of planets, and seasons on earth
  • understand how outer planets differ in size, composition, mass and density, looking at Jovian planets and how tidal forces transfer heat, making them potential environments to support life
  • explain the concept of a wave in relationship to light, frequency and energy and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • learn about the lifecycle of stars, including low-mass stars, high-mass stars, white dwarfs and neutron stars

General Topics:

  • The science of astronomy
  • Motion, energy, gravity, and light
  • Formation of our solar system
  • The birth, life, and death of stars
  • The formation of galaxies and the universe
  • Life on earth and beyond
Instruction & Assessment

Instructional Strategies:

  • Audio Visual Materials
  • Lectures

Methods of Assessment:

  • Examinations
  • Quizzes

Minimum Passing Score:

Supplemental Materials

Other offerings from, LLC