History of Astronomy - Fully Online

Course Code: NATS 1745 B Fully Online 6.0

Instructor's Name: Robin Kingsburgh

Course Description:

This course follows the evolution of discoveries and theories about Astronomy from pre-historic times up to the present. We begin by looking at sites like Stonehenge and Newgrange, where we find evidence that the motions of the Sun and stars were understood in prehistoric times. We then look at the astronomical knowledge amassed by ancient civilizations such as the Neolithic Britain, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica. We then look at how the Ancient Greek view of the cosmos differed from more ancient worldviews, laid the foundations for the development of Astronomy as a science, and was later built upon by Islamic astronomers. The first half of the course concludes with the early history of modern astronomy and covers figures like Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and Newton. The 2nd half of the course covers discoveries about our solar system, the stars, galaxies and the universe from the 19th century up to the present day. This includes the history of our missions to space, recent discoveries about the birth and evolution of the universe, discoveries of new planets beyond our solar system, and theories about black holes, dark matter and dark energy. No previous science background is required.

Course Format:

All course material will be presented in online lectures and readings. All work will be submitted electronically, with the exception of three proctored section exams, which will be held on campus on the specified dates.

Course Credit Exclusions:


Mathematical Content:

The astronomy exercises involve making measurements from graphs, using scientific notation and solving simple equations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and exponents. Free one-on-one tutoring is available for students who require help with the mathematical concepts. There will be no calculations on the midterm and final exam.

Course Outlines:

Course Outline Fall/Winter

Archived Course Outline:

Archived Course Outline