Astronomy

0% Complete
0 out of 65 Lessons
0% Complete
0 out of 4 Exams
Previous Lessons
Open Chapter Ch. 1: A Modern View of the Universe
Lesson #1 The Scale of the Universe
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 1
Lesson #2 The History of the Universe
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 2
Lesson #3 Spaceship Earth
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 3
Open Chapter Ch. 2: Discovering the Universe for Yourself
Lesson #4 Patterns in the Night Sky
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 4
Lesson #5 The Reason for Seasons
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 5
Lesson #6 The Moon, our Constant Companion
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 6
Lesson #7 Ancient Mystery of the Planets
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 7
Open Chapter Ch. 3: The Science of Astronomy
Lesson #8 The Ancient Roots of Science
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 8
Lesson #9 Ancient Greek Science
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 9
Lesson #10 The Copernican Revolution
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 10
Lesson #11 The Nature of Science
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 11
Open Chapter Ch. 4: Understanding Motion, Energy, and Gravity
Lesson #12 Describing Motion
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 12
Lesson #13 Newton's Laws of Motion
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 13
Lesson #14 Conservation Laws in Astronomy
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 14
Lesson #15 The Force of Gravity
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 15
Open Chapter Ch. 5: Light: The Cosmic Messenger
Lesson #16 Basic Properties of Light and Matter
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 16
Lesson #17 Learning from Light
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 17
Lesson #18 Collecting Light with Telescopes
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 18
Exam Exam 1
Open Chapter Ch. 6: Formation of the Solar System
Lesson #19 A Brief Tour of the Solar System
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 19
Lesson #20 The Nebular Theory of Solar System Formation
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 20
Lesson #21 Explaining the Major Features of the Solar System
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 21
Lesson #22 The Age of the Solar System
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 22
Open Chapter Ch. 7: Earth and the Terrestrial Worlds
Lesson #23 Earth as a Planet
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 23
Lesson #24 The Moon and Mercury: Geologically Dead
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 24
Lesson #25 Mars, a Victim of Planetary Freeze Drying
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 25
Lesson #26 Venus, a Hothouse World
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 26
Lesson #27 Earth as a living planet
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 27
Open Chapter Ch. 8: Jovian Planet Systems
Lesson #28 A Different Kind of Planet
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 28
Lesson #29 A Wealth of Worlds: Satellites of Ice and Rock
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 29
Open Chapter Ch. 9: Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets
Lesson #30 Classifying Small Bodies
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 30
Lesson #31 Asteroids
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 31
Lesson #32 Comets
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 32
Lesson #33 Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 33
Lesson #34 Cosmic Collisions - Small Bodies vs Planets
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 34
Open Chapter Ch. 10: Other Planetary Systems
Lesson #35 Detecting Planets Around Other Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 35
Lesson #36 The Nature of Planets Around Other Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 36
Lesson #37 The Formation of Other Planetary Systems
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 37
Exam Midterm Exam
Open Chapter Ch. 11: Our Star
Lesson #38 The Sun, Our Star
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 38
Lesson #39 Nuclear Fusion in the Sun
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 39
Lesson #40 Sun-Earth Connection
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 40
Open Chapter Ch. 12: Surveying the Stars
Lesson #41 Properties of Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 41
Lesson #42 Patterns in the Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 42
Lesson #43 Star Clusters
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 43
Open Chapter Ch. 13: Star Stuff
Lesson #44 Star Birth
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 44
Lesson #45 Life as a Low Mass Star
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 45
Lesson #46 Life as a High Mass Star
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 46
Open Chapter Ch. 14: The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard
Lesson #47 White Dwarfs
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 47
Lesson #48 Neutron Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 48
Lesson #49 Black Holes: Gravity’s Ultimate Victory
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 49
Exam Exam 3
Open Chapter Ch. 15: Our Galaxy
Lesson #50 The Milky Way Revealed
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 50
Lesson #51 Galactic Recycling
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 51
Lesson #52 The History of the Milky Way
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 52
Open Chapter Ch. 16: A Universe of Galaxies
Lesson #53 Islands of Stars
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 53
Lesson #54 Distances of Galaxies
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 54
Lesson #55 Galaxy Evolution
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 55
Lesson #56 The Role of Supermassive Black Holes
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 56
Open Chapter Ch. 17: The Birth of the Universe
Lesson #57 The Big Bang Theory
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 57
Lesson #58 Evidence for the Big Bang
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 58
Lesson #59 The Big Bang and Inflation
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 59
Open Chapter Ch. 18: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Fate of the Universe
Lesson #60 Unseen Influences in the Cosmos
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 60
Lesson #61 Structure Formation
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 61
Open Chapter Ch. 19: Life in the Universe
Lesson #62 Life on Earth
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 62
Lesson #63 Life in the Solar System
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 63
Lesson #64 The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 64
Lesson #65 Interstellar Travel and Implications for Civilizations
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 65
Exam Final Exam

Assignments:

Unfinished Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 2

Lesson Objectives:

- The Big Bang
- The life cycle of stars
- The composition of the universe



Scientists have observed the universe through telescopes and the study of celestial objects in the sky. Galaxies have been moving away from each other constantly. The universe is constantly expanding. The point at which the expansion began is considered the start of the universe. This event in time is called the Big Bang. The universe, as we know it, came into effect 14 billion years ago in a big event called the Big Bang.

Since the Big Bang, the universe has been in a constant state of expansion on a smaller scale. Galaxies push apart but the force of gravity can compel matter to come together. Hence, while the universe as a whole continues to expand, certain galaxies and galaxy clusters do not expand. The Milky Way is one such galaxy that was formed a few billion years after the Big Bang.



A star is a glowing ball of gas that generates heat and light. Within galaxies like our Milky Way, gravity drives the collapse of clouds of gas and dust. This gives rise to the formation of stars.

Stars are born in interstellar clouds. While they are not living organisms, they do have life cycles. They are formed or born when gravity compresses material inside clouds so much that the center becomes hot enough to produce energy via nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion is the process where lightweight atomic nuclei smash together and stick together to make heavier nuclei. The star thus produces energy and new elements through nuclear fusion and continues to live as long as it can generate energy from fusion. The star dies when it uses up its usable fuel. Stars then release elements in interstellar space when they die.

The largest stars die in titanic explosions called supernovas. The returning matter mixes with other floating matter in the sky and forms new clouds of gas and dust. New stars can be born from these clouds. Thus, a galaxy functions as a cosmic recycling plant, generating new stars and planets from dying ones.



The early universe is composed of hydrogen, helium and a little lithium. Human beings and the Earth itself are made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and iron. These elements come from stars through nuclear fusion when stars are born and live, and from nuclear reactions when they die.

By the time the Solar System was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, earlier star generations had converted about 2% of our galaxy's original hydrogen and helium into heavier elements. The cloud that gave rise to the Solar System was made of 98% hydrogen and helium and 2% other elements. This 2% gave rise to all the small rocky planets and Earth. Astronomer Carl Sagan said that human beings are "star stuff."



How does our lifetime compare to the age of the universe? If we can imagine the 14 billion year history of the universe compressed into 1 year, then a human life lasts only a fraction of a second. Using this time scale, if the Milky Way formed in February, the solar system only came into formation by early September. With this massive cosmic scale, the entire history of human civilization falls into just the last half minute. Also on this scale, the human species is the youngest species where a human lifespan only lasts a blink of an eye.