Physics 55: Introduction to Astronomy
Fall Semester, 2005

Professor Henry Greenside


Announcements      Syllabus      Related Links     Blackboard    

Lectures      Homeworks      Course-Related Files      Observation     

Astronomy Picture of the Day      Mastering Astronomy



NGC 1300 barred spiral galaxy Titan, Saturn's Exotic Moon Black hole Cat's Eye Nebula

Click on an image to learn more about it.


Welcome to the home page for Physics 55, a one-semester introduction to astronomy for non-science majors. This course will discuss how observation and scientific insights have led to many astounding discoveries about the universe. In turn, these discoveries profoundly affect how we humans view ourselves and our place in the universe.

Topics discussed will include an appreciation of the night sky, properties of light and matter that help us to understand the universe, the origin of the solar system, the evolution and death of stars, some applications of Einstein's theories of special and general relativity to astronomy, exotic stellar corpses like black holes and neutron stars, the mysterious dark matter, the evolution of the universe from a hot Big Bang, and the possibility for extraterrestrial life. During observational classes, students will study the sky with their unaided eyes as well as with binoculars and telescopes.

Please refer to the links at the top of this page to access course announcements, the course syllabus, and other material useful for this course. In particular, please check the Announcements link every few days for postings of reading assignments, homeworks, answers, status of night observation classes, and topics or talks of special interest to the class.

Note: This course has an active Blackboard website but that site will play a secondary role compared to this webpage. Go to the Blackboard site to view your grades and to participate in the course Discussion Board.