Stars, Planets, Life (PHY2107.01)

Hugh Crowl

In the last thirty years, the study of life beyond our own planet has gone from science fiction to legitimate science. The course will initially focus on how stars form and evolve, starting from the formation of the universe, and continuing to a discussion of stars as both the synthesizers of heavy elements and the central energy source for stellar systems. From there, we will discuss current planetary formation theories, planet detection techniques, and the explosive discovery of planets outside our solar system in the past fifteen years. Finally, we will examine the conditions under which we think life evolves and whether any of the glut of planets we’ve discovered in the last year may support life.


Learning Outcomes:
An understanding of how astronomers use light to characterize distant objects.
An ability to use quantitative techniques to answer questions about celestial objects.
An understanding of how scientists detect planets outside our solar system.
An understanding of the conditions that lead to life and how stellar and planetary properties determine those conditions.


Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 24
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Updates , Physics , Remotely Accessible
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