Introductory Astronomy

Dear Students,

I plan to handle lecture interactions using active forums/sessions etc. I will keep the course "as synchronous as possible". In these unprecedented situations, we, instructors and students, should step forward and work together in reaching maximum performance of both education and learning processes.

For any matter, please feel free to contact me through the query form.

Take precautions & Stay safe.


Course Content

This is a General Astronomy course. It is usually thought in two semesters covering astronomy content from basic understanding of sky to Cosmology. However, in this course it is compacted to a single semester. Therefore some of the minor content has been omitted or emphasis lowered.

The content starts with a long introduction:

  • Where we are in the universe

  • Comprehending the sky: local vs space

  • Scaling up/down in the universe

  • Making sense of observations: The change

  • Linking perceived data to scientific outcome

After the introduction, a space journey starts and the traveler (aka. student) starts exploring the universe from the local sky towards the end of observable universe, finalizing with a general view of Cosmos (i.e. including things/thoughts beyond the observable universe).

Course Administration

Fill out the query form

Please read carefully top FAQ section before filling out the form.


Content of each exam will not include previous exam's content (see above table).


The idea

  • Each essay starts with a short description and asks a question at the end. Essay questions will be very different than questions you faced with through the course.

  • The main idea of the essay is NOT you to collect already-written-known-content of some astronomy source (text book, internet etc) as an answer.

  • You should depart from the stream line and dream about using your current knowledge of astronomy (which should be gained through the course) to explore the unknown universe.

  • Answers to questions have to be yours only. Nothing else but this will earn you points.

  • So, your essay will somehow depart from flat-science-book language and fall into science-fiction and/or story-telling style. There is nothing wrong in choosing such a style; just keep dreaming and use your own wording.

  • Back-door: If you find the essay question too difficult to complete try a related subject. But whatever you write, you have to answer/explain "why you do so?".

Assumptions & Hints

While you struggle to grasp the questions and try to find a way out, the following assumptions and hints could help you get through:

  • Whatever needed in your project (or environment, location, space) has already been produced, discovered, calculated, simulated, manufactured, built, experienced.

  • You are allowed to use any kind of technology (established or not yet established) - just explain how it works.

  • You cannot bend the laws of physics and mathematics. Otherwise, you have no limits.

  • Remember to question everything you know about the world you know now!

Note that depending on the question there might be more assumptions and hints.

Length and format

  • DO NOT FORMAT into a typesetted file (e.g DOCX or PDF); It has to be plain TEXT.

  • should not be too short (few sentence to one paragraph)

  • should not be too long (if it is formatted: max one A4 page; 12 pt, 1.5 line spacing)

  • should not be a single lengthy paragraph (i.e. make logical paragraphs of thoughts)

  • should contain a title

  • don't sign it (whole thing is recorded under your student ID)


  • Don't copy-paste already-in-the-textbook material.

  • Don't try to dump internet junk into your essay.

  • It would be too easy for me to detect such cheating if the wording is NOT yours.


Physical book titles (first three) are adapted as textbooks to the course at different years through out the history of the course. Any of them will be a good starting point for this course as well as a good reference guide for your astronomy education. The links on the books are search results in well known book sellers. You have to buy the book and get a pass-code to access the "student content".

The last link (OpenStax) is a free online astronomy book prepared by astronomers all around the world. You should register to the site.

Astronomy Today

by Chaisson, E., McMillan, S.

The Cosmic Perspective

by Bennett, J., Dohahue, M., Schneider, N., Voit, M.


by Arny, T.T., Schneider, S.E.


by OpenStack