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Bruce Betts' Online Astronomy Course 2013

The Planetary Society's Director of Projects, Dr. Bruce Betts, returned to the virtual classroom at California State University Dominguez Hills for the Spring 2013 semester teaching Physics 195: Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy.  Here is an archive of all 13 classes. 

He is also teaching an updated version of the the same class in 2014.  Go here to learn more.

Each class is one-and-a-half hours.  Just click on a session title to get to a large version of the video for that class.

If you are curious about what was covered in the class, here is the syllabus (PDF) , or just see the descriptions with the classes below.

Intro Astronomy 2013. 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.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 2: How We Explore Space

Guests

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 starts with guest Mat Kaplan, Media Producer for The Planetary Society and Bruce and Mat record a What's Up segment for Planetary Radio. Filmed at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. 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, lunar tides, phases, and solar eclipses. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 4: Mercury, Venus-Earth-Mars Atmospheres, Venus

Lecture 4 of Dr. Bruce Betts' online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers 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.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 5: Venus (cont.), Mars

Lecture 5 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 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.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 6: Mars (cont.), Asteroid Threat

Guests

  • Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist, The Planetary Society

Lecture 6 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Mars (continued: Phoenix, rovers Curiosity and Opportunity, including an update from Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society, and moons), and the near Earth asteroid threat to Earth, including statistics, past impacts, and information on the recent 2012 DA14 flyby and Chelyabinsk fireball. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 7: Asteroid Belt, Jupiter System

Guests

  • Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE Principal Investigator, Jet Propulsion Lab

Lecture 7 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers asteroid hunting from space with Dr. Amy Mainzer (JPL), NEOWISE principal investigator, in addition to covering the Asteroid Belt (characteristics, asteroids visited, meteorites), and the Jupiter system (planet, atmosphere and interior, magnetosphere, aurora, ring, moons including Io; icy Galilean satellites will be covered next week). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 8: Icy Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Lecture 8 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers the Icy Galilean Satellites (Europa, Ganymede, Callisto) of Jupiter, and the Saturnian System including atmosphere, interior, rings, and moons including Enceladus and Titan. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 9: Uranus and Neptune Systems, and Trans Neptunian Object Discovery

Guests

  • Mike Brown, Planetary Astronomer, California Institute of Technology

Lecture 9 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course starts with guest Dr. Mike Brown of Caltech, discoverer of Trans Neptunian Objects, then covers the Uranian and Neptunian systems including atmospheres, interiors, rings, and moons including Triton. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Lecture 10 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Transneptunian Objects (TNOs) including the Pluto System, Eris, Kuiper Belt Objects, Comets, and the Oort Cloud, and also covers the solar wind, aurorae, and the heliosphere. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Lecture 11 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Exoplanets (planets around other stars) including discovery techniques and current knowledge and characteristics, and multi-planet systems including a previously recorded interview with Kepler scientist Dr. Darin Ragozzine (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory). Lecture 11 also covers the origin and formation of the Solar System as well as a quick look at Kepler's 3rd law and planetary orbits. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 12: The Sun and Stars

Lecture 12 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers the Sun (physical characteristics, zones, solar cycle, sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections, fusion, etc.) and Stars and Stellar Evolution (star types and colors, evolution, HR Diagrams, birth and death phases, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes), as well as brief coverage of solar sails and Lagrange Points. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills. Note this lecture was previously recorded.

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Intro Astronomy 2013. Class 13: Galaxies, the Universe, Life

Guests

Lecture 13 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2013 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course begins with a conversation with Bill Nye about profound questions in the universe, then covers galaxies (our place in the Milky Way, types of galaxies, Hubble Deep Field), the Universe (determining distances, expansion of the universe, Big Bang theory and evolution of the universe, WMAP and Planck results, dark matter, dark energy, neutrinos), and life in the universe (Earth life requirements, astrobiology, SETI). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

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