Astronomy – State of the Art Free Course

Astronomy – State of the Art Free Course. Join Prof. Chris Impey in this Astronomy for beginners course and learn about today’s amazing astronomical discoveries!

Astronomy - State of the Art

What you’ll learn

  • Become familiar with the cutting edge of astronomy research, from the Solar System and exoplanets to galaxies and the distant universe.
  • Learn how astronomers are addressing profound issues such as the existence of life beyond Earth and black holes and the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
  • Gain an appreciation for the technological innovations in telescopes and detectors that are transforming our view of the universe.


  • Interest in Astronomy


This astronomy for beginners course is for anyone who loves astronomy and wants to get up to date on the most recent astronomical discoveries.  Join Professor Chris Impey and our team of instructors from Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona to learn the science behind the latest astronomy news headlines, to enrich your understanding of the universe, and to glimpse the future of this exciting area of research.  Lecture material will be augmented by discussion, live Q&A, and guest lectures. Find us on FacebookGoogle+YouTube, and follow us on Twitter @AstronomySOTA.

Who this course is for:

  • Everyone
  • Amateur Astronomers
  • Planetarium Educators
  • Science Center and Museum Educators
  • Science Teachers
  • Astronomy Instructors
  • Students of Astronomy

Course content


  • Course Overview
  • Course Description
  • Welcome to Astronomy – State of the Art

Exploring Our Universe

  • Overview – State of the Art Observing
  • Supporting Slides for Section 2: Exploring our Universe
  • Telescopes
  • Observing Limitations
  • Observing Solutions
  • Adaptive Optics
  • Space Astronomy
  • Big Glass
  • Gravity Waves
  • Activity for Section 2
  • Observing and Telescopes
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 2
  • Section 2 Background Reading – Telescopes: A Brief History

Understanding Our Solar System

  • Overview – Planetary Exploration
  • Section 3 Overview Reading
  • Supporting Slides for Section 3: Understanding our Solar System
  • Mars10:12
  • Mars and Water05:01
  • Mars Up Close
  • Jovian Planets
  • Solar System Satellites
  • Titan
  • Water Worlds
  • Activity for Section 3
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 3

Discovering Extra Solar Planets

  • Overview – Extra Solar Planets
  • Section 4 Overview Reading
  • Supporting Slides for Section 4: Discovering Extra Solar Planets
  • Exoplanets
  • Detection and Imaging
  • Characterizing Exoplanets
  • Kepler
  • Habitable Zones
  • Activity for Section 4
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 4

Probing Distant Stars

  • Overview – Stars
  • Section 5 Overview Reading
  • Supporting Slides for Section 5: Probing Distant Stars
  • Stars and Life
  • Supernovas
  • Pulsars
  • Black Holes
  • Testing Gravity
  • Activity for Section 5
  • Interview Podcast links for Section 5

Inspecting Other Galaxies

  • Overview – Structure & Evolution of Galaxies
  • Section 6 Overview Reading
  • Supporting Slides for Section 6: Inspecting Other Galaxies
  • Milky Way
  • Dark Matter
  • Galactic Center
  • Active Galaxies
  • Structure Formation
  • Dark Energy
  • Activity for Section 6
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 6

Examining the Cosmos

  • Overview – Cosmology
  • Section 7 Overview Reading
  • Supporting Slides for Section 7: Examining the Cosmos
  • Cosmology
  • Microwave Background
  • Big Bang
  • Early Universe
  • The Multiverse
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 7

Uncovering Evidence For Life

  • Overview – Life and Astrobiology
  • Supporting Slides for Section 8: Uncovering Evidence For Life
  • Section 8 Overview Reading
  • The Unity of Life
  • Extremophiles
  • Exobiology
  • Weird Life
  • Drake Equation
  • Communication
  • Interview Podcast Links for Section 8
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