ASTRONOMY COURSE
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The Astronomy course contains 185 self-grading microlearning lessons that you can upload to your Learning Management System (LMS).

Astronomy is designed to meet the requirements of one- or two-semester beginning astronomy courses. The course begins with relevant scientific fundamentals and progresses through an exploration of the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Created through support from contributions from NASA, it builds on student understanding through the use of relevant analogies, clear and non-technical explanations, and illustrations. Mathematics is also included in a manner to meet the needs of individual teachers and learners.

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  • The Nature of Astronomy
  • The Nature of Science
  • The Laws of Nature
  • Numbers in Astronomy
  • Consequences of Light Travel Time
  • A Tour of the Universe
  • The Universe on the Large Scale
  • The Universe of the Very Small
  • A Conclusion and a Beginning
  • Final Assessment
  • The Sky Above
  • Ancient Astronomy
  • Astrology and Astronomy
  • The Birth of Modern Astronomy
  • Final Assessment
  • The Laws of Planetary Motion
  • Newton’s Great Synthesis
  • Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation
  • Orbits in the Solar System
  • Motions of Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Gravity with More Than Two Bodies
  • Final Assessment
  • Earth and Sky
  • The Seasons
  • Keeping Time
  • The Calendar
  • Phases and Motions of the Moon
  • Ocean Tides and the Moon
  • Eclipses of the Sun and Moon
  • Final Assessment
  • The Behavior of Light
  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Spectroscopy in Astronomy
  • The Structure of the Atom
  • Formation of Spectral Lines
  • The Doppler Effect
  • Final Assessment
  • Telescopes
  • Telescopes Today
  • Visible-Light Detectors and Instruments
  • Radio Telescopes
  • Observations outside Earth’s Atmosphere
  • The Future of Large Telescopes
  • Final Assessment
  • Overview of Our Planetary System
  • Composition and Structure of Planets
  • Dating Planetary Surfaces
  • Origin of the Solar System
  • Final Assessment
  • The Global Perspective
  • Earth’s Crust
  • Earth’s Atmosphere
  • Life, Chemical Evolution, and Climate Change
  • Cosmic Influences on the Evolution of Earth
  • Final Assessment
  • General Properties of the Moon
  • The Lunar Surface
  • Impact Craters
  • The Origin of the Moon
  • Mercury
  • Final Assessment
  • The Nearest Planets: An Overview
  • The Geology of Venus
  • The Massive Atmosphere of Venus
  • The Geology of Mars
  • Water and Life on Mars
  • Divergent Planetary Evolution
  • Final Assessment
  • Exploring the Outer Planets
  • The Giant Planets
  • Atmospheres of the Giant Planets
  • Final Assessment
  • Ring and Moon Systems Introduced
  • The Galilean Moons of Jupiter
  • Titan and Triton
  • Pluto and Charon
  • Planetary Rings
  • Final Assessment
  • Asteroids
  • Asteroids and Planetary Defense
  • The “Long-Haired” Comets
  • The Origin and Fate of Comets and Related Objects
  • Final Assessment
  • Meteors
  • Meteorites: Stones from Heaven
  • Formation of the Solar System
  • Comparison with Other Planetary Systems
  • Planetary Evolution
  • Final Assessment
  • The Structure and Composition of the Sun
  • The Solar Cycle
  • Solar Activity above the Photosphere
  • Space Weather
  • Final Assessment
  • Sources of Sunshine: Thermal and Gravitational Energy
  • Mass, Energy, and the Theory of Relativity
  • The Solar Interior: Theory
  • The Solar Interior: Observations
  • Final Assessment
  • The Brightness of Stars
  • Colors of Stars
  • The Spectra of Stars (and Brown Dwarfs)
  • Using Spectra to Measure Stellar Radius, Composition, and Motion
  • Final Assessment
  • A Stellar Census
  • Measuring Stellar Masses
  • Diameters of Stars
  • The H–R Diagram
  • Final Assessment
  • Fundamental Units of Distance
  • Surveying the Stars
  • Variable Stars: One Key to Cosmic Distances
  • The H–R Diagram and Cosmic Distances
  • Final Assessment
  • The Interstellar Medium
  • Interstellar Gas
  • Cosmic Dust
  • Cosmic Rays
  • The Life Cycle of Cosmic Material
  • Interstellar Matter around the Sun
  • Final Assessment
  • Star Formation
  • The H–R Diagram and the Study of Stellar Evolution
  • Evidence That Planets Form around Other Stars
  • Planets beyond the Solar System: Search and Discovery
  • Exoplanets Everywhere: What We Are Learning
  • New Perspectives on Planet Formation
  • Final Assessment
  • Evolution from the Main Sequence to Red Giants
  • Star Clusters
  • Checking Out the Theory
  • Further Evolution of Stars
  • The Evolution of More Massive Stars
  • Final Assessment
  • The Death of Low-Mass Stars
  • Evolution of Massive Stars: An Explosive Finish
  • Supernova Observations
  • Pulsars and the Discovery of Neutron Stars
  • The Evolution of Binary Star Systems
  • The Mystery of the Gamma-Ray Bursts
  • Final Assessment
  • Introducing General Relativity
  • Spacetime and Gravity
  • Tests of General Relativity
  • Time in General Relativity
  • Black Holes
  • Evidence for Black Holes
  • Gravitational Wave Astronomy
  • Final Assessment
  • The Architecture of the Galaxy
  • Spiral Structure
  • The Mass of the Galaxy
  • The Center of the Galaxy
  • Stellar Populations in the Galaxy
  • The Formation of the Galaxy
  • Final Assessment
  • The Discovery of Galaxies
  • Types of Galaxies
  • Properties of Galaxies
  • The Extragalactic Distance Scale
  • The Expanding Universe ← TRY ONE! 
  • Final Assessment
  • Quasars
  • Supermassive Black Holes: What Quasars Really Are
  • Quasars as Probes of Evolution in the Universe
  • Final Assessment
  • Observations of Distant Galaxies
  • Galaxy Mergers and Active Galactic Nuclei
  • The Distribution of Galaxies in Space
  • The Challenge of Dark Matter
  • The Formation and Evolution of Galaxies and Structure in the Universe
  • Final Assessment
  • The Age of the Universe
  • A Model of the Universe
  • The Beginning of the Universe
  • The Cosmic Microwave Background
  • What Is the Universe Really Made Of?
  • The Inflationary Universe
  • The Anthropic Principle
  • Final Assessment
  • The Cosmic Context for Life
  • Astrobiology
  • Searching for Life beyond Earth
  • The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
  • Final Assessment
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