Τετάρτη, 21 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Δωρεάν μάθημα Αστρονομίας απο το Duke University


Θα θέλατε να παρακολουθήσετε ένα μάθημα αστρονομίας και μάλιστα δωρεάν;
To coursera σε συνεργασία με το πανεπιστήμιο Duke προσφέρουν ένα δωρεάν μάθημα αστρονομίας διάρκειας 9 εβδομάδων με ένα νέο μοντέλο διδασκαλίας που βασίζεται σε διαδικτυακή παρακολούθηση και αλληλοαξιολόγηση των σπουδαστών. Έναρξη στις 27 Νοεμβρίου

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Positional Astronomy (naked-eye Astronomy)
We will spend our first week familiarizing ourselves with descriptions of the positions and motions of celestial objects.

Week 2: Newton’s Universe
Newtonian physics revolutionized the way we understand our Universe.  We will discuss Newton’s laws of mechanics, the conservation laws that follow from them, his theory of gravity and some applications to Astronomy, as well as some properties of radiation.  The last clip will be a quick look at the features of quantum mechanics relevant to our course.  This will be a particularly busy and challenging week, but hard work here will pay off later.

Week 3: Planets
We will not have time in this course to do any justice to the broad and exciting field of planetary science.  We will spend the week on a general review of the properties and structure of our Solar System and our understanding of its origins and history.   We will end with some discussion of the exciting discoveries over the past decade of many hundreds of extrasolar planets.

Week 4: Stars
What we know about stars and a bit about how we found out.    We will begin with a quick review of the best-studied star of all, our Sun.  We will then talk about classifications; H-R diagrams and main sequence stars; distance, mass, and size measurements; binaries; clusters; and stellar evolution through the main sequence

Week 5: Post-Main-Sequence StarsFinal stages of stellar evolution and stellar remnants.   Giants, white dwarves, novae, variable stars, supernovae, neutron stars and pulsars.

Week 6: Relativity and Black Holes
We will spend most of this week acquiring an understanding of the special theory of relativity.  We will then discuss the general theory in a qualitative way, and discuss its application to black holes, gravitational lensing, and other phenomena of interest.

Week 7: Galaxies
Galactic structure and classification.  Active galactic nuclei, quasars and blazars.  Galactic rotation curves and dark matter.  Galaxy clusters and large-scale structure.

Week 8: Cosmology
What we can say about the universe as a whole.  Hubble Expansion.  Big bang cosmology. The cosmic microwave background.  Recent determination of cosmological parameters.   Early universe physics.

Recommended Background

  1. An interest in learning something about the universe we live in and a willingness to invest some thought and some work in this.
  2. The ability to calculate with large and small numbers, e.g. to compute the product of and .
  3. A familiarity with the rudiments of high-school algebra, the ability to solve an equation like to get   and comfortably use this to obtain numerical values for in appropriate units given values of , , and , and to draw and use graphs to describe the properties of functions.
  4. A basic background in science at a high school level. What elements, atoms, nuclei, magnetic fields, gravity, etc. are will be assumed familiar.  The details of their physics or its mathematical description will not.

Suggested Readings

There are a lot of important and interesting facts to learn about astronomy, and lectures are a very inefficient way to learn facts.  It would be extremely helpful, but not absolutely necessary, to read any of the many introductory astronomy texts that are out there as you take this class and to have it handy as a reference. The Wikibook http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/General_Astronomy and Wikipedia entries for the topics mentioned in class would be quite sufficient for this purpose, as would the freely available online notes by Nick Strobel at http://www.astronomynotes.com/. In addition, I recommend downloading and installing a planetarium application for your computer.  Examples of free downloads sufficient for our purposes include http://www.stellarium.org/ , http://www.astrosurf.com/c2a/  (Windows only) or http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/.

Course Format

There will be video lectures broken up into clips 8-15min. long, about three hours of video per week. There will be quizzes to go with these as well as regular homework assignments.

FAQ

  • Will I get a certificate after completing this course? Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate signed by the instructor.
  • Do I need to have had college physics or calculus to take this course? No. If you have had any of these, you will find them helpful but it is definitely possible to do this class and enjoy it without them. Supplementary notes reviewing the technical aspects of the physical principles we use will be posted to help keep the class as self-contained as possible.
  • Is this a hard course? It should be. If done right you will have learned in a few short weeks a lot of truly exciting science, and this will require putting in some time to work on it, and some hard thinking. It should also be a lot of fun.
  • Do I need a telescope to take this course? No. I will suggest some observing projects for naked-eye observing and some for telescope observing. If you can find a darkish place to look up at the night sky this will be both rewarding and instructive, and a telescope can amplify both effects if you know how to use it. But not all of us have access to such locations or equipment, and installing one of the planetarium software options allows you to make “observations" on your monitor.

Looking for more courses?
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