"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody
discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will
instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and
inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already
-- Douglas Adams
Astro 250 is a second course in astronomy designed for non-science
majors (though scientific types are welcome). We explore the more bizarre
objects and events of the Universe in more detail than is possible in Astro
120 or 150, using lectures, videos, computer exercises, in-class activities,
professional laboratory visits, etc. Explore the links in this page! The
information here is designed for those in the class, but others might find
some fun things too.
Here is the official ISU course catalog entry
The course meets on MWF at 2:10 in Physics 58, and is taught by
On Friday, April 11 you should have viewed the following lecture
Lecture by Prof. Natalie Batalha on A Planet for Goldilocks.
Dr. Batalha is a lead scientist with the Kepler mission, and in this lecture she clearly describes what the mission has
found and what our thinking is about habitability.
After you've watched the videos you should have answered the survey questions that are posted on Blackboard.
Instead of the regular class meeting on 2/28, you were to to view the video Time Travel which is available for download on Blackboard. Note that the download is about 1.1Gb
so be sure to do it over wifi and not on your cell plan! You should be able to view the file with Quicktime, VLC, or your favorite digital content viewer. After watching the video, be
you were to fill out a short question sheet that I will post on Blackboard as an assignment, before class on Monday, 3/3.
Reading week of February 17, general relativity and black
holes. Resources for GR:
Some of the background work you will do will not be reading, but will be
listening to (and occasionally watching) programs that are either streamed
on the internet or available as downloads or podcasts. You'll need a way
to listen to mp3 files... an iPod/iPad/iPhone perhaps?
Here are a few of the sites / radio / podcast sources we'll be using: