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The Evolving Universe

California Institute of Technology via edX

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Overview

This is an introductory astronomy survey class that covers our understanding of the physical universe and its major constituents, including planetary systems, stars, galaxies, black holes, quasars, larger structures, and the universe as a whole. We will learn how modern astronomical observations and applications of physics we know from the planet Earth reveal the nature of these objects and explain their observed properties, and tell us how they form and evolve. We will also examine various cosmic phenomena, from variable or exploding stars to the expansion of the universe and the evidence for dark matter, dark energy, and the big bang. The universe as a whole and all of its major constituents are evolving, and we now have a fairly complete and consistent picture of these processes that is based on the objective evidence from observations and the laws of physics. The goal of this class is both to learn about the fascinating objects and phenomena that populate the universe, and to understand how we know all that.

Taught by

S. George Djorgovski

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