ASTR S-35 Fundamentals of Contemporary Astronomy: Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

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7-week session | CRN 31194

The fundamentals of astronomy are covered in the context of contemporary research. We study five areas being actively investigated by astronomers today. Topics include stars, galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the Universe; the history of the Universe; the nature of dark matter and dark energy; and exoplanets. The course is designed to help students explore the frontiers of research in astronomy, and to get a feeling for what it is like to be an astronomer, using the new generation of ground- and space-based telescopes, combined with sophisticated theoretical techniques and computational facilities. As we study each aspect of the Universe, we ask how we came to know what we know today, what the open questions are, and how astronomers are searching for the answers to these questions.

Course information
Class meetings

On campus
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 pm
Harvard College Observatory Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden Street

Required sections to be arranged.

Start date

Tuesday, June 20


4 credits

Course tuition


Enrollment status

  • Registration Closed
  • Prerequisites

    High school algebra; some physics background is useful but not necessary.




    Rosanne Di Stefano, PhD.

    Senior Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Lecturer on Astronomy, Harvard University

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