Astronomy Classes at OCC

The Hubble Telescope, image courtesy of NASA

Astronomy is the scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena.

One of the oldest sciences, astronomers of ancient Greece practiced a scientific methodology, and advanced observation techniques. Historically, amateur astronomers have contributed to many important astronomical discoveries, and astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena.

OCC has one of the most advanced astronomy programs at the community college level. The Novins Planetarium is being reborn to become one of the most outstanding planetariums in the country. OCC has obtained some of the most outstanding scientists to teach the astronomy courses. For those who are timid about taking college level science courses this can be a great place to start.

PHYS 180 (4 s.h.) Introduction to Astronomy

Solar Image: Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) images courtesy of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • What's out there?
  • Why is the night sky dark?
  • Why do we have day and night?
  • Seasons?
  • Tides?
  • Eclipses?
  • How did the Earth, the Moon, and the planets come to be, and how did they get the way they are today?
  • What have we learned from our many space missions?
  • What kinds of objects do we find in the Universe?
  • How did the Universe begin?
  • How did it reach its present state?
  • What will be its ultimate fate?

These are just a few of the questions covered in PHYS 180, Introduction to Astronomy. In the course of the semester, students will have a chance to learn not only what we know, but how we know it. Through simple experiments and observations, students will be able to answer some of these questions themselves, and to see how astronomers tease out answers to the ultimate mysteries of space and time.

Take PHYS 180 Introduction to Astronomy Online!

Careers in Astronomy

Most astronomy positions require a Ph.D. degree, which can take five or six years of graduate work. This path enables the astronomer to do much independent work, which is what makes astronomy enjoyable: finding a problem and finding a way to solve it.

However, astronomy can be an adjunct to many scientific careers in physics, biophysics and engineering.

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