Maricopa Community Colleges  AST112   19966-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 4-25-95

AST112  1996 Fall – 2010 Summer II


3 Credit(s)

3 Period(s)

Introduction to Astronomy II

Introduction to astronomy for the non-science major. Structure and evolution of stars; star clusters; galaxies; cosmology.

Prerequisites: MAT092 or equivalent.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


AST112  1996 Fall – 2010 Summer II

Introduction to Astronomy II



Apply the scientific method and other critical thinking models to astronomical phenomena for hypotheses development, experimental design, data acquisition, and data analysis. (I- XIII)


Explain the application of fundamental physical principles to various astronomical phenomena. (I-XIII)


Describe in terms of energy, wavelength and frequency the various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. (I)


Explain what information can be obtained by spectral analysis. (I)


Describe the physical properties of the sun. (II)


Explain various techniques used to provide estimates of some fundamental properties of stars. (III, IV)


Describe binary star systems and star clusters. (IV)


Explain the significance of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. (IV)


Describe the composition of the interstellar medium and its effects on radiation. (V)


List the possible steps in the formation of stars. (VI)


Describe the birth, life, and death of both low-mass and high- mass stars. (VII)


Describe the final remnants of both low-mass and high-mass stars. (VIII)


Describe the contents and structure of the Milky Way galaxy. (IX)


Describe the classification and distribution of galaxies. (X)


Explain the significance of Hubble’s Law. (X)


Describe possible models which account for active galaxies. (XI)


Describe current cosmological models and their implications on the past and the future. (XII)


Explain the probability of extraterrestrial intelligence and the possibility of extraterrestrial communication. (XIII)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


AST112  1996 Fall – 2010 Summer II

Introduction to Astronomy II


I. Tools of Astronomy

A. Electromagnetic spectrum

B. Telescopes and radiation detectors

C. Spectral line formation and analysis

D. Radiation laws and the Doppler effect

E. Radio astronomy

II. Sun as a Nearby Star

A. Bulk properties

B. Interior

C. Visible surface

D. Atmosphere

E. Solar activity

F. Energy production

III. Measuring the Stars

A. Distances

B. Motions

C. Magnitudes and luminosity

D. Temperature and color

E. Spectral classification

F. Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram

IV. Binary Stars and Star Clusters

A. Binary star classifications

B. Stellar sizes and masses

C. Open star clusters

D. Globular star clusters

E. H-R diagrams of clusters

F. Cluster distances and locations

G. Cluster ages

V. Interstellar medium

A. Interstellar matter

B. Emission nebulae

C. Dark nebulae

D. 21-centimeter radiation

E. Interstellar molecules

VI. Star Formation

A. Gravitational forces vs thermal pressure

B. Steps of stellar formation

C. Low-mass formation

D. High-mass formation

E. Evidence of stellar formation

F. HII regions and star clusters

VII. Stellar Evolution

A. Evolution and the H-R diagram

B. Evolution and death of low-mass stars

C. Evolution and death of high-mass stars

D. Supernovae

E. Formation of the elements

F. Cycle of stellar evolution

G. Evidence of stellar evolution

H. Binary star system evolution

I. Novae

VIII. Stellar Remnants

A. White dwarfs

B. Neutron stars

C. Black holes

D. Evidence for stellar remnants

IX. Milky Way Galaxy

A. Bulk properties

B. Spiral nebulae vs island universes

C. Variable star classifications

D. Variable stars as distance indicators

E. Stellar distributions in the Milky Way

F. Radio studies of the Milky Way

G. Mass of the Milky Way

H. Galaxy core activity

X. Normal Galaxies

A. Galaxy classification

B. Clusters of galaxies

C. Distribution of galaxies

D. Galaxy masses

E. Hubble’s law

F. Galaxy formation and evolution

XI. Active Galaxies

A. Distant galaxies

B. Active galaxies

C. Radio galaxies

D. Cores of active galaxies

E. Quasi-stellar objects

F. Evolution of active galaxies

XII. Cosmology

A. Large scale structure

B. Homogeneity and isotropy

C. Expanding universe

D. Cosmological models

E. Cosmological tests

F. Cosmic microwave background

G. Primordial nucleosynthesis

H. Formation of large scale structure

XIII. Life in the Universe

A. Life in the solar system

B. Prospects for intelligent life in our galaxy

C. Search for extraterrestrial intelligence



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