Understanding how stars work - what makes them shine - is one of the great accomplishments of 20th-century science. The theory of stellar structure allows us to investigate the interiors of stars, even though what we observe is radiation from their outer atmospheres. This theory also helps us determine how old stars are, how they create heavier nuclei from lighter nuclei in their centers, and how they evolve from birth to death, ending as a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.
This course introduces you to the concepts behind and applications of this crucial breakthrough. We will review the physical principles - gravity, pressure, radiation, and how radiation interacts with matter - and apply these principles to further our understanding of stellar structure. We will collect our own measurements of stellar properties, such as the temperatures and luminosities of stars, using robotic telescopes controlled via the internet.
We will analyze these images and other existing astronomical data sets using the Python programming language, assisted by coding assignments. No prior coding experience is necessary, and a walkthrough of the basics of Python will be provided before the course.
Remote or Residential
This course includes a field trip to the historic Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin.
Current Grade / Education Level
Class Duration (CST)