Skagit Valley College

Catalog Course Search Details

 Course Title:   Survey of Astronomy

 Title Abbreviation:   SURVEY OF ASTRONOMY

 Department:    ASTR&

 Course #:    100

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5

 CIP:    400703

 EPC:    n/a

 REV:    2018

 Course Description  

Astronomy for non-scientists with topics including birth and death of stars, workings of the solar system, Big Bang, quasars, pulsars, black holes, and the search for extraterrestrial life.


Prerequisite: Appropriate placement or grade of 2.0 or higher in ENGL 099 and MATH 98.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 55

Lab: 0

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Academic Natural Sciences  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks
U of W 1XX
WWU X B elective

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize the historic and cultural significance of astronomy, navigation, and celestial events in a variety of cultures and times.
  2. Identify bright stars, planets, and constellations and know how their positions vary as a function of hour, season, and location.
  3. Know the similarities and differences among the Earth, its Moon, and the other planets and moons in the Solar System.
  4. Know the basic models of the evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe, and recognize the limitations of these models.
  5. Understand some basic ideas on the scientific explanation of the origin and evolution of the universe, and how we can scientifically test these theories.
  6. Identifies the ways in which cultural expectations, assumptions and beliefs define who we are, how others see us, and influence how others and we perform science.

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

2. Critical Thinking

Definition: The ability to think critically about the nature of knowledge within a discipline and about the ways in which that knowledge is constructed and validated and to be sensitive to the ways these processes often vary among disciplines.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
2.1 Identify and express concepts, terms, and facts related to a specific discipline.
2.2 Analyze issues and develop questions within a discipline.
2.3 Identify, interpret, and evaluate pertinent data and previous experience to reach conclusions.
2.4 Evaluate decisions by analyzing outcomes and the impact of actions.

8. Mathematical Reasoning

Definition: Understanding and applying concepts of mathematics and logical reasoning in a variety of contexts, both academic and non-academic.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
8.1 Analyze problems to determine what mathematical principles apply.
8.2 Correctly apply logical reasoning and mathematical principles to solve problems.
8.3 Interpret information and reasoning expressed mathematically (for example in spreadsheets, diagrams, charts, formulas, etc.).

9. Scientific Literacy

Definition: Understanding scientific principles, and analyzing and applying scientific information in a variety of contexts.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
9.1 Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental scientific concepts.
9.2 Demonstrate their understanding of the principles of scientific methods, analysis, and reasoning.

Course Contents

  1. Introduction, History/Cultural Impacts
  2. Calendars, Celestial Motions
  3. Solar System-from Ptolmy through Copernicus to Kepler's & Newton's Laws
  4. Terrestrial Planets and the Moon
  5. Jovain Planets, Meteors, Comets
  6. Stars adn Stellar Evolution
  7. Exotics-dwarfs, pulsars, neutron stars, black holes
  8. Galaxies, Quasars, Hubble's Law
  9. Cosmology-Big Bang Theory
  10. Extras: SETI, relativity, archaeoastronomy