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Bruce Betts' Online Astronomy Course 2015

The Planetary Society's Director of Projects, Dr. Bruce Betts, returned to the virtual classroom at California State University Dominguez Hills for the Spring 2015 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. 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.

Class Resources

Here are some resources for the class: the class schedule and reading assignments list and the syllabus.

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 certificate RSF for Lecture 13 was unclear (sorry), so please use the following as the answer in the quiz for Lecture 13: "The age of the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old (time since the Big Bang)."

Take the Quiz

 

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+.

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' 2015 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.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 9: Titan, Uranus and Neptune Systems

Lecture 9 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers Saturn's moon Titan and the Uranian and Neptunian systems including atmospheres, interiors, rings, and moons including Triton. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 10: Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto, KBOs, Comets

Lecture 10 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 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.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Lecture 11 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course covers exoplanets (planets around other stars) including discovery techniques, current knowledge and characteristics, and multi-planet systems. Lecture 11 also covers the origin and formation of the Solar System. Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 12: The Sun and Stars

Lecture 12 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 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). Recorded at California State University Dominguez Hills.

 


 

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 13: Galaxies, the Universe, Life

Lecture 13 of Dr. Bruce Betts' 2015 online Introductory Planetary Science and Astronomy course 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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