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The Evolving Universe - Caltech



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A survey of the physical universe and its constituents, including the formation, function, and evolution of stars, galaxies, black holes, quasars, and more.
With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

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Requirements: Knowledge of physics at a solid introductory university level, basic calculus.


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What you'll learn on the course

Physical universe

Course programme

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.

Additional information

S. George Djorgovski S. George Djorgovski is a Professor of Astronomy at Caltech.  After receiving his PhD from UC Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow, before joining the Caltech faculty in 1987.  He was a Presidential Young Investigator, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, among other honors and distinctions, and he is an author or coauthor of several hundred professional publications.  He was one of the founders of the Virtual Observatory concept, and one of the founders of the emerging field of Astroinformatics.