Astronomy of Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos

Welcome to PHY 1050 Online!


Welcome to the High Point University online course PHY1050: Astronomy of Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos. As the course name suggests, we will be studying the Universe beyond our solar system, investigating topics such as neutron stars, black holes, quasars, and dark matter. You will learn what astronomers have discovered about the Universe, but more importantly you will learn how astronomers know these things. For example, Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion. It is about 770 light-years from Earth (that's the distance light would travel in 770 years), it has a surface temperature of about 11,000 degrees Celsius, and gives off about 85,000 times more light than the Sun! You could get quite a Sun tan (or should I say Rigel tan) from this star! These are some amazing facts. But, how do we know them? How do we know the distance to Rigel? We certainly can't use a ruler. How do we know Rigel's temperature if no one has ever put a thermometer on its surface? This course will focus on how we know what we know about the Universe. I hope you will find it both enlightening and enjoyable.

Preparing to Take the Course

In the menu bar at the left of this web page are various links arranged under the headings "Course Information", "Assignments", and "Resources." You are currently on the "Welcome" page under the "Course Information" heading. Before you begin the course, you will need to read all of the information on all of the pages under the "Course Information" heading. This will give you an idea of what the course will be like, how homework and tests will be handled, and what software you must have installed on your computer. On the last page (Expectations), you will be asked to download and electronically sign a statement acknowledging that you have read and understand all of the course requirements and expectations.

Now, continue to the next Course Information page (Syllabus) by clicking the link for it in the menu bar at the left of this page.