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Curriculum

Astronomy

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

Science

Credits: 1

Sophomores may be allowed to enroll in this class concurrently with Honors Chemistry with departmental approval.

Astronomy is a year-long course that explores the origin, structure, evolution, and fate of the universe and the objects in it. Topics studied in this course include gravitation and orbits, the Solar System and other planetary systems, the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies and their creation, and black holes and curved spacetime. Students will also study the history of humans’ understanding of our place in the universe, from the astronomy of ancient civilizations to modern-day space missions. Finally, the course will explore current questions about the mysterious presence of dark matter and dark energy, theories about the future of the universe, and the search for habitable planets and extraterrestrial life. Although the course is mostly conceptual, there is some basic problem-solving required. No prior physics courses are necessary. Students will also make periodic observations using Walker’s van Gemeren Observatory.