The Evolving Universe

Faculteit Science and Engineering
Jaar 2019/20
Vakcode STEHE5
Vaknaam The Evolving Universe
Niveau(s) universitaire minor
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I b

Uitgebreide vaknaam The Evolving Universe
Leerdoelen The general goal of this lecture series is to convey the many fascinating aspects of modern astronomy to a broad audience, largely following an excellent english-written textbook. The following is a summary of specific learning goals.

The students should be able to recognize the astronomical influence on the layout and architecture of early, pre-historical monuments and understand astronomy's role in our changing world views. Students should appreciate the importance of celestial events for early cultural developments (calendars, agriculture etc) and the prominent role played by astronomy during the renaissance and the birth of the scientific method. Students should understand the movements of stars and celestial bodies in the sky throughout the years, including an understanding of the various celestial coordinate systems, constellations and the origin of the seasons. Students learn the cause, nature and cadence of solar and lunar eclipses based on the properties of the Earth-Moon system. Understanding the electromagnetic spectrum as the prime messenger of astronomical events is an important learning goal, including the dual nature of light, the relation between colour and temperature, the Doppler effect, and the meaning of absorption and emission lines. Students learn about the instruments and techniques used by present-day
astronomers to collect and analyse the radiation of different wavelengths, including the variety of telescopes and satellites being used, as well as the effect of the Earth atmosphere on incoming radiation. Students should become familiar with the solar system and recognize the main attributes of planets, asteroids and comets. Students learn about the nature of our Sun (size, temperature, colour etc) and its dynamic phenomenae such as sun spots, the solar cycle and coronal mass ejections. Students learn to relate the properties of the Sun to those of other stars and learn how the properties of stars (brightness, colour, distance) can be measured and linked. Students learn how stars and planets are formed from interstellar matter, how this matter can be observed and what its nature is. Students learn about the internal structure of stars, how stars produce their energy and what happens when stars run out of their fuel. Students will learn how stars eventually die and what conditions determine the nature of the remnants they leave behind (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes). Students learn how the structure of the Miky Way was discovered with various techniques and how the evidence for dark matter was derived. Students learn about the diversity of other galaxies and will be able to recognize elliptical, spiral and irregular systems based on their characteristics. Students learn about the diverse manifestation of active galaxies and how this can be unified through a simple model. Finally, students will understand the cosmology of an expanding, accellerating universe of finite age and which aspects determine its fate. The ultimate goal is to convey a proper understanding of humanity's position on this cosmic stage while keeping a clear focus on understanding the variety of the key astrophysical processes.

Since astronomy as a natural science features heavily in the media, it is important that students learn to distinguish astronomical facts from astronomical fiction. Based on the knowledge that is gained throughout the course, students should learn to distinguish truly important discoveries from `hyped' astronomical news that is inconsequential. Therefore, students learn to `navigate' the popular scientific literature by writing an essay on an astronomical topic of their choice.
Omschrijving Much can be learned higher up.... If you want to know more about stars and planets, but also about constellations, light, telescopes, the Milky Way, quasars, the Big Bang and our place in the Universe, you can follow this course.

This series of 14 lectures will be taught to bachelor students, employees of the University of Groningen, and interested members of the general public. This course is worth 5 ECTS and part of the University Minor "Astronomy through Space and Time".

No specific prior knowledge is required to follow this course. The use of mathematical formulae will be avoided as much as possible. The lectures will be taught in English and the text book is written in English.

This level of this course is qualitative and too basic for students of Astronomy and Physics. They may not incorporate The Evolving Universe into their curriculum. For other students of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, incorporation into their curriculum can only be considered by agreement of their degree programme Board of Examiners.

Of course, everybody is welcome to attend.
Uren per week 4
Onderwijsvorm Hoorcollege (LC)
(Two times 2 hours on Monday and Wednesday evening. First lecture on Wednesday evening, November 11. Besides the lectures there will also be observations at the Blaauw Observatory.)
Toetsvorm Meerkeuze toets (MC), Verslag (R)
(Essay of 3500 words)
Vaksoort bachelor
Coördinator prof. dr. M.A.W. Verheijen
Docent(en) prof. dr. M.A.W. Verheijen
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
In Quest of the Universe, 7th edition (earlier editions are OK) T. Koupelis 978-1-4496-8775-5 ca. €  45,00
Entreevoorwaarden The programme is open to students from all faculties. Students from the (applied) physics and astronomy programme will be excluded since the level of courses is too low for them. For all other students no prior knowledge is required.
Opmerkingen See also website: The Evolving Universe
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
BSc Courses for Exchange Students: Astronomy, Physics & Applied Physics - semester I b Astronomy
Minor Sterrenkunde in ruimte en tijd 3 semester I b verplicht