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PHYS 300

Historical Astronomy

This course explores the development of mankind's understanding of the universe. We will follow the development of astronomical thinking from ancient cultures to the time of Newton. This course places emphasis on the tools, techniques and discoveries relevant to the development of astronomy. Topics include calendars, sundials (we'll spend some time making some of our own), astrolabes (we'll also make some of these), lunar and solar eclipses, the use of a quadrant and a horologium nocturnum, precession of the equinoxes and the Ptolemaic and Copernican planetary models. There is an accompanying evening lab for the course which will often involve observing the sky. The only prerequisite is high school algebra and trigonometry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics High school algebra and trigonometry 1