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Astronomy Education Series

The Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium & Observatory at the Vanderbilt Museum is pleased to offer the general public access to its Astronomy Education Series of six (6) mini-courses (Course 1 through 6). Each course builds upon the prior course in the sequence, but still provides the flexibility for students to gauge their own level of interest and to enroll for as many, or as few, of the courses as they choose. However, it is recommended but not necessary that course 1 be taken as a prerequisite for any of the other five (5) courses.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, the series of courses will be taught remotely via Zoom. Once the Planetarium has re-opened, the courses will be taught at the Planetarium in a classroom setting. It also will be livestreamed for those students who prefer or are required to attend remotely.
This course is designed for beginning to novice amateur astronomers, or anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of Astronomy and the night sky. This series of courses will provide a more formal education in this topic than is typically provided at planetarium shows and exhibits, or from media outlets. The courses are designed for the adult learner (age 16 years and up) interested in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, and the night sky. Total lecture class size will be limited, with a minimum of 10 students and a maximum of 25.
The instructor will be Bob Unger, however guest speakers may be invited occasionally.

The textbook is free in electronic form as a PDF document. Or students may elect to purchase the textbook in hard copy form: Astronomy by Fraknoi, Morrison, Wolff

PRINT BOOK ISBN-10 1-938168-28-3
PRINT BOOK ISBN-13 978-1-938168-28-4
PDF VERSION ISBN-10 1-947172-24-7
PDF VERSION ISBN-13 978-1-947172-24-1
ENHANCED TEXTBOOK ISBN-10 0-9986257-3-6
ENHANCED TEXTBOOK ISBN-13 978-0-9986257-3-7
Revision AS-2016-003(08/18)-RS
Original Publication Year 2016

For additional questions or information, feel free to call Bob at (631)-988-3510, or email him at bob.unger@vanderbiltmuseum.org.

In the event that courses sell out, please contact Bob to be put on a waiting list in case spots become available.
Students may cancel their enrollment for a full refund but must do so at least 2 weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the start of any course. No refunds will be made available after that time. All cancellation requests must be emailed to Bob Unger at bob.unger@vanderbiltmuseum.org.
Register Here

ASTRONOMY EDUCATION SERIES:

COURSE I LECTURES [course fee $60 members, $70 non-members]:
Tuesday, July 21, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Science & the Universe: A Brief Tour
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Observing the Sky: The Birth of Astronomy
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Orbits & Gravity
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Earth, Moon & Sky

COURSE II LECTURES [course fee $60 members, $70 non-members] (prerequisite Course I):
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Radiation & Spectra
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Astronomical Instruments
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Other Worlds: An Introduction to the Solar System
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Earth as a Planet

COURSE III LECTURES [course fee $90 members, $110 non-members] (prerequisite Course I):
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Cratered Worlds
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Earthlike Planets: Venus & Mars
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Giant Planets
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Rings, Moons & Pluto
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Comets & Asteroids: Debris of the Solar System
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Cosmic Samples & the Origins of the Solar System

COURSE IV LECTURES [course fee $60 members, $70 non-members] (prerequisite Course I):
Tuesday, October 27, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Sun: A Garden-Variety Star
Tuesday, November 3, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Sun: A Nuclear Powerhouse
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Analyzing Starlight
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Stars: A Celestial Census

COURSE V LECTURES [course fee $60 members, $70 non-members] (prerequisite Course I):
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Celestial Distances
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Between the Stars: Gas & Dust in Space
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Star Birth & the Discovery of Planets Beyond Our Solar System
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Stars from Adolescence to Old Age

COURSE VI LECTURES [course fee $120 members, $140 non-members] (prerequisite Course I):
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Death of Stars
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Black Holes and Curved Space-Time
Tuesday, January 12, 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Milky Way Galaxy
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Galaxies
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Active Galaxies, Quasars, and Supermassive Black Holes
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Evolution & Distribution of Galaxies
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm The Big Bang
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Life in the Universe

NOTE: Some courses may include field trips, independent study, group projects, and laboratory sessions, in addition to these lectures. The Planetarium facilities will be utilized as they become available.