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Research Kapteyn Institute Education

Minor Astronomy through Space and Time

This 15 ECTS Minor provides an astronomical perspective of humanity's place and time in a constantly changing universe. It consists of three courses, "The Evolving Universe", "Cosmic Origins" and "Astrobiology", each 5 ECTS. All courses are taught in period 1b. The courses are taught in English.

Aim of the program
You will gain insight into the historical evolution of our understanding of the universe. After following the three courses, you are capable to explain what planets, stars and galaxies are and you know how they form and evolve in time. In addition, you can connect this with the formation of life as we know it. At the end of the minor you are aware of mankind's place in cosmic history and you understand how much astronomy has affected and will keep affecting our life.

For whom?
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.

"The Evolving Universe" provides an overview of the most important astronomical insights that result from our exploration of the Universe. It discusses the celestial sphere, astronomical instruments, the properties of the Sun and planets, the stars and interstellar matter, and the Milky Way.

"Cosmic Origins" focuses on the large scale structure and evolution of the Universe. Along with a treatment of theories of gravity, of space and time, and the formation and evolution of galaxies and the Universe itself, the course also discusses the historical development of our view of the Universe. The course will follow the evolution from a steady-state earth-centered world to that of the expanding Big Bang Universe, illustrating the thousands year long quest of mankind for the origins of the world and the cosmos. This will also involve an exploration of the historical, philosophical, cultural and religious context of this quest since the dawn of civilization.

"Astrobiology" starts with the sociological aspects and the research methodology of this new interdisciplinary field. The course discusses pre-requisites for life on Earth, diversity and evolution, exo-planetary systems and their formation/habitability, space missions to explore life on other planets/moons in the Solar System and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI, Fermi-Paradox).

Last modified:02 April 2019 11.44 a.m.