Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space

This course is designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about modern astronomy. We will help you get up to date on the most recent astronomical discoveries while also providing support at an introductory level for those who have no background in science.

About The Course

This class is a survey of modern astronomy. We begin with a brief history of how science works to help us comprehend the universe, modern telescopes, and the underlying physical principles of light and gravity. We then proceed through modern astronomical topics and get up to date on the most recent astronomical discoveries. There is a particular emphasis on the discoveries that are transforming our understanding of planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. You will see what we have learned from new ground-based telescopes and space observatories. Astronomers project the scientific method into remote regions of time and space, discovering Earth-like worlds, probing the exotic end states of stars, counting and weighing galaxies, and diagnosing physical conditions in the first instants of the expanding universe. Topics will include:

  • A brief history of astronomy and the Copernican revolution

  • Modern telescopes and other tools of astronomy

  • Planets in and beyond our solar system

  • The life and death of stars

  • Galaxies and the expanding universe

  • Astrobiology and life beyond Earth

No prior background in astronomy is needed. Join Chris Impey, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona, for this exciting tour of the cosmos.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who complete the class will be offered a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.

  • Do I earn University of Arizona credits upon completion of this class?

    No. The Statement of Accomplishment is not part of a formal qualification from the University. However, it may be useful to demonstrate prior learning and interest in your subject to a higher education institution or potential employer.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    No resources needed, but we recommend purchasing a copy of "Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy" if you would like to engage more deeply.

  • What are the learning outcomes of this course and why should I take it?

    You’ll learn about the questions that have occupied some of the greatest minds in history, and how to go about answering them!

Recommended Background

Although there is no prior background in astronomy or science required, there is some advanced content for people that already have some knowledge of astronomy.