Online Class: Astronomy 101

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Course Description

The universe is comprised of infinite space both on Earth and beyond.

It is quite illuminating to discover the expansiveness that can be found by studying the night skies and not only learning about the array of celestial objects that exist but also understanding the reasons behind certain formations and intergalactic activities.

In this course we're going to explore our night sky, constellations, our solar system, our galaxy, and what lies beyond the far reaches of space. In addition, we'll learn about past and current projects for space exploration, as well as future ideas for space travel.
Our journey will also take us to black holes, quasars, supernovaes, brown dwarfs, and the string theory. And lastly, we'll explore in depth how we make observations from earth, and touch on the mechanics of optical telescopes that aid us in exploring the night sky.

Course Requirements

You only need a web browser, an Internet connection, and an open mind. All other materials are provided within the course.

Course Outline


  1. Welcome to the Night Skies
  2. Star Variances
  3. Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
  4. The Moon
  5. Constellations, an Overview
  6. Right Ascension and Declination
  7. Fall Winter Constellations
  8. Spring Constellations
  9. Debunking the Myths


  1. Astronomy: History
  2. Solar System: Formation
  3. Earth and Moon
  4. Planets and Moon
  5. Planetary Positions


  1. Space Exploration: History
  2. Space Exploration: Accomplishments and Status
  3. Space Exploration: Political Update
  4. Space Exploration: Future Plans
  5. NASAs New Horizon Mission to Pluto
  6. Space Travel Industry
  7. Increased Media
  8. Redefining the Term Planet


  1. Astronomy versus Cosmology
  2. Composition of the Universe
  3. Black Holes
  4. Quasars
  5. Supernovae
  6. Brown Dwarfs
  7. String Theory


  1. All-Sky Map
  2. Planispheres
  3. Telescopes
  4. Mounts
  5. Binoculars
  6. Astronomical Almanac
  7. Astronomical Compass
  8. Flashlight
  9. General Star Gazing Guidelines
  10. Star-Crossed Community: Clubs, Organizations and Planetariums

Grading Policy

Each lesson is followed by an end-of-lesson multiple choice and T/F Quiz (each worth around 20-25 pts.) Some of the lessons will also be followed by an assignment based on lesson facts and opinions expressed.

70% or higher will be required in order to complete this course.

Recommended Books

Although there are no Required books or materials for this online course, there are a couple of Recommended books for further study.
1.  Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide   Booklink to: Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide
2.  NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe (Spiral-bound)   Booklink to: NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify and describe the major and minor constellations.
  • Identify and describe our solar system.
  • Describe and differentiate the planets and moons of our solar system
  • Describe both the history and future plans of space exploration.
  • Describe Black Holes, Quasars, Supernovae, Brown Dwarfs, String Theory.
  • Demonstrate basic functions of using a telescope, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Lesson 1 Assignment25
Lesson 2 Assignment25
Lessons 1 & 2 Exam13
Lesson 3 Assignment25
Lesson 4 Assignment25
Lessons 3 & 4 Exam14
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 6 Assignment25
Lessons 5 & 6 Exam14
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 8 Assignment25
Lessons 7 & 8 Exam12
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9 Exam15
Total Points:293

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