This is an introductory course in astronomy focusing on planets in our Solar System, and around other stars (exoplanets). First we review the formation, evolution and properties of the Solar system. Following an introduction to stars, we then discuss the exciting new field of exoplanets; discovery methods, earth-like planets, and extraterrestrial life. Core values of the course are quantitative analysis and hands-on experience, including telescopic observations. This STN course is designed for the non-science major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. See www.astro.princeton.edu/planets for important changes
Fall 2021 Undergraduate Courses
Space Physics Laboratory I (Non-credit)
The Space Physics Laboratory course sequence provides undergraduates at all levels the opportunity to participate in a laboratory developing NASA space flight instrumentation. The courses teach space physics laboratory skills, including ultrahigh vacuum, space instrument cleanroom, mechanical, electrical, and other laboratory skills, which then allow students to propose and carry out a significant group research project in the Laboratory. The sequence comprises two semesters with AST 250 as a prerequisite for AST 251, a credit bearing (P/F) course.
Instructors: David McComas
Life in the Universe
This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astrophysics and geology combine their skills to investigate life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the origin of life on earth,the prospects of life on Mars, Europa, Titan, Enceladues and extra-solar planets, as well as the cosmological setting for life and the prospects for SETI. 255 is the core course for the planets and life certificate.
Instructors: Christopher Chyba