Introductory Astronomy Online Course
This is a series of introductory lectures on Astronomy and Astrophysics that will be the basis for my upcoming online couse at William Paterson University. This series is meant to serve many masters, and two in particular. I hope to give a lively introduction to Astronomy, demonstrating the core ideas as well as diving into some areas of greater interest to people who want to know a bit more. I don't shy away from equations and maths, but I also assume that you're going to be getting much of that material either in your own class or by searching online. Under each video, I provide a huge number of relevant web links, to either Wikipedia articles, which do tend to be overly expanive in their offerings, or to primary source materials, such as NASA mission websites, journal articles or author's websites. The web links are there to provide help and deeper understanding, and are not necessarily the path for a pure beginner, though they can be. This web series should probably be used alongside a traditional textbook in astronomy, in order to help the instructor or mentor guide the students into their own pedagogy. Actually, any good public-oriented introductory astronomy book would be a good companion to this series, or even some children's books too. At some point, I'll try to assemble some good textbooks for you to get or use alongside these videos. I don't expect you to learn the topic by just watching the videos. I expect that you're doing your own reading and coming away with your own critical eye. In this regard, these lectures are just that: my perspective on it. I do like observational perspectives, and I do try to introduce, as much as possible, actual photographs and images, as well as original works by the original authors. I think it's important for people to build a visual vocabulary of astronomy, so you can understand the nature of the funny shapes and wondrous views and vistas of the cosmos.
- Finding our way around the sky, and our Place in Space
- Earth's orbit and tilt. The Seasons, the Year and the Day
- Lunacy! Phases, Eclipses and Orbit of the Moon.
- Distance, Parallax and Parsecs
- How Round the Earth? How Far the Sun?
- I Got the Sun in the Mornin' and the Moon at Night...
- Why did we once think Earth was at the center?
The Rise and Birth of Science
- The Dawning of Astrophysics
- Galileo, the Father of Science
- Galileo's Denouement
- Newton's Laws as well as his Guidelines
- Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Equation?
- And Yet It Moves: Galileo Vindicated
- Wave Motions Everywhere
- The Emerging Ideas about Light
- Newton's Corpuscles of Light: So Close, but So Far....
- The End of Newton's Theory of Light
Classical Physics Meets its Destiny
- Faraday, Maxwell and the Aether
- The Speed of Light and the Michelson Morley Experiment
- The Great Relativistic Conundrum
- Special Relativity's Implications
- Special Relativity in Detail
- General Relativity Raison d'être
- General Relativity Curvature and Tests
- General Relativity: The Bending of Light's Path
- General Relativity, The Slowing of Time by Gravity
- The Tides
Light and Matter
- The Nature of Light, Part 1
- The Nature of Light, Part 2
- Stellar Brightness and Magnitudes
- Color and Temperature
- Kirchhoff's Laws of Spectroscopy
- Atoms, Elements and Isotopes
- The History of the Atom
- The Bohr Model of the Atom
The Tools of Astronomy
- Telescopes, part 1: Refraction and Reflection
- Telescopes, part 2: Angular Resolution and Seeing
- Telescopes, part 3: Plate Scale, Focal Ratio and Magnification
- Extremely Basic Concepts about CCDs
- Big Telescopes and High Resolution
- Radio Telescopes
- Space-Based Telescopes
- All Sky Astronomy Surveys
- The Sun's Bulk Properties
- The Sun's Surface Appearance
- The Core of the Sun
- Energy Transport inside the Sun
- What Powers the Sun?
- The Solar Neutrino Problem
Measuring the Stars
- Stellar Spectral Classification
- Parallax and Proper Motion
- Binary Stars: Visual and Spectroscopic
- Binary Stars: Stellar Masses from Eclipsing and Spectroscopic Binaries, PLUS Proxima "b"
- Binary Stars 3; The Mass of Proxima b and Stellar Masses
- The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
- Stellar Radii
- Stellar Mass, Luminosity and Lifespan
- Spectroscopic Parallax
- Star Clusters and Stellar Evolution