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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ASTR 1151: Introductory Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies

This is a general interest introductory course on the night sky, stars and galaxies, and is intended for non-science majors. Topics Include: Telescopes and observing the night sky, radiation and spectra, stellar properties and evolution, black holes, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and cosmology.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the sky above
  • Identify and explain radiation and spectra
  • Identify and describe astronomical instruments
  • Describe the Sun's nuclear fusion processes and explain the methods of energy transport
  • Explain the aspects of starlight such as how to determine magnitudes and colours of the stars
  • Describe the different types of stars in the Galaxy
  • Explain how to determine distances, masses and sizes of stars
  • Describe stellar evolution from birth to death, black holes, and the Milky Way galaxy
  • Describe other types of galaxies and aspects of cosmology

Course topics

Unit 1: Beginning the Cosmic Journey

Unit 2: The Nature of Gravity and Light

Unit 3: The Sun and Other Stars

Unit 4: The Life and Death of Stars

Unit 5: Galaxies and Cosmology

Required text and materials

  1. Seeds, M., & Backman, D. (2017). Stars and Galaxies (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
    ISBN : 978-1-337-39994-4

Additional Required Reading

  1. Johnson, G. (2006). Miss Leavitt's stars: The untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
    ISBN: 978-0-393-32856-1


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam.

Unit 1 Assignment 1a: APOD 1 (NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day) 4%
Unit 2 Assignment 2a: Space News 1 4%
Test 1 (Units 1 & 2) 5%
Unit 3 Assignment 1b: APOD 2 4%
Assignment 3: Citizen Science Project 10%
Unit 4 Assignment 2b: Space News 2 4%
Assignment 4: Book Report and Assignment 4 Quiz 10%
Test 2 (Units 3 & 4) 5%
Unit 5 Assignment 1c: APOD 3 4%
Assignment 5: Observing the Night Sky 10%
Final Exam* 40%
Total 100%


Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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