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Bruce Betts' Online College Intro Astronomy Course 2015

Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy

Want to take an Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy class at your leisure with the Planetary Society's Director of Projects, Dr. Bruce Betts? He is teaching the virtual college class at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) spring semester 2015-- Physics 195: Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy.

The course begins Wednesday, February 4, 2015 with weekly classes running from 3:00-4:30pm Pacific Time. You can watch each class live on CSUDH DHTV and Ustream or view archived classes that will be posted to this page shortly after their live presentations.

Dr. Betts guides you through the solar system and universe in a class heavy on imagery and fun, and light on math, while still giving you a strong introduction to what we know and how we learn more. He also talks to a number of guests throughout the course. Below, you can find class resources as well as links to an archive of the class. 

Class Resources

You can view the class schedule and reading assignments list and the syllabus. We will also soon be posting written class assignments as they are given to the students formally enrolled in the class. We'll also try to post tests. Unless you are one of the students enrolled in the class already, you can choose to do them or not :)

Certificate Quiz

To receive a Certificate of Achievement for watching the 2015 Bruce Betts Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class (Physics 195 at California State University Dominguez Hills), a Random Space Fact (RSF) is given in each class designed to be “the” RSF that users will have to recognize later to get the certificate. The quiz will become available at the end of the 2015 course.

Continue Learning

Watching the course and want more? Continue learning and exploring by joining The Planetary Society, following Dr. Bruce Betts on Twitter, or Facebook, or Google+ and following The Planetary Society on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Class Video Archives

You can view the archived versions of each 2015 class along with descriptions of what is covered in each class below. You can also access the archive of all of the Spring 2014 version of the same course and the archives for the Spring 2013 and Spring 2012 courses.

2015 Classes

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Take a tour of the Solar System in class 1 of Dr. Bruce Betts' online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 2: How We Explore Space

Lecture 2 of Dr. Bruce Betts' online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers easy things to see in the night sky without a telescope, and the electromagnetic spectrum (from gamma rays to visible to radio waves) -- what it is, and how and why we use different wavelength regions to explore planets and even learn their compositions. The class begins with guest Mat Kaplan, Media Producer for The Planetary Society and Bruce and Mat record a What's Up segment for Planetary Radio. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 3: Telescopes, the Moon

Lecture 3 of Dr. Bruce Betts' online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers optical, radio, and space telescopes, the history, exploration, and importance of the Moon to our Solar System understanding, as well as impact cratering and lunar tides and phases. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 4: Eclipses, Mercury, Venus-Earth-Mars Atmospheres, Venus

Lecture 4 of Dr. Bruce Betts' online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers eclipses, Mercury (characteristics, geology, core, exploration, water ice at poles), the Terrestrial Planet Atmospheres/Triad Planets -- a comparison of Venus, Earth, and Mars and why their atmospheres are so different, including discussions of the Greenhouse Effect, temperature systems (Kelvins, Celsius, Fahrenheit), and plate tectonics; and Venus (characteristics, geologic evolution, exploration). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 5: Venus (cont.), Mars

Lecture 5 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Venus (continued: surface landers, exploration), and Mars (characteristics, many types of geologic features, poles, exploration spacecraft: flyby, orbiters, and landers/rovers). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 6: Mars (cont.), Asteroids

Lecture 6 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Mars (continued discussion including Opportunity and Curiosity) and Asteroids (general, exploration, asteroid belt, meteorites). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 7: Near Earth Asteroids, Jupiter System

Lecture 7 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2014 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers asteroid Ceres, the near Earth asteroid threat to Earth (including statistics, past impacts, and information on the Chelyabinsk fireball), and introduces the Jupiter system. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 8: Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Lecture 8 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers the Galilean Satellites (Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto) of Jupiter, and the Saturnian System including atmosphere, interior, rings, and moons including Iapetus and Enceladus. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

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