Barred spiral galaxy NGC 613

An Introduction to Astronomy


Presented by Helen Johnston.

"An Introduction to Astronomy" begins on 2 October 2018: check listings in the Continuing Education web-site or brochure for enrolment information.

This astronomy course introduces you to the wonders of modern astronomy. From the Solar System to the most distant galaxies, we undertake an eye-opening journey, from how stars work to the structure of the universe itself. Through lectures and demonstrations, you will find out what astronomers know about the cosmos, and how we know it. An evening of star viewing in the Blue Mountains is included.

Course outline

    LectureLinksPDF versionAnimationsLecture recording

    1. The Universe: a guided tour

    We set the scene, showing where we are in the universe, and discuss how astronomers make discoveries
    Lecture 1 links IA1-intro.pdf (40 Mb)   Lecture 1

    2. The Sun and planets

    We look at the immediate neighbourhood of the Earth, and discuss the Solar System
    Lecture 2 links IA2-solarsystem.pdf (32 Mb) • Granulation: gran_mov27M_99_crea.mpg (472 kb)
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    • Vibrating Sun: movie1.mpg (4 Mb)
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    • Coronal loops: (10.1 Mb)
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    • Flaring region: Spurting304.mp4 (6.4 Mb)
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    • Coronal mass ejection: c3april.mpg (3.3 Mb)
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    • Saturn moon ballet: (7 Mb)
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    Lecture 2

    3. The birth of stars and planets

    We discuss how stars come in to being, and what makes a star shine
    Lecture 3 links IA3-birth.pdf (16 Mb) • Cluster collapse simulation: cluster4.avi (30.3 Mb)
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    • Star formation: disk.mpg (3.8 Mb)
    Original from Chris Tinney's home page
    • Moon-forming impact: (2.8 Mb)
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    • Mars impact animation: marinova_anim.gif (805 kb)
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    Lecture 3

    4. The evolution of the stars

    We discuss what happens to a star during its lifetime, from birth to its ultimate fate
    Lecture 4 links IA4-evolution.pdf (12 Mb)   Lecture 4

    5. Stellar graveyards: white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.

    We discuss what is left when stars finish their lives
    Lecture 5 links IA5-graveyards.pdf (15 Mb) • Pulsar model: pulsar.gif (208 kb)
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    • Formation of a millisecond pulsar: (9.2 Mb)
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    • Binary pulsar: PulsarsCurrent320x256.mpg (3.3 Mb), PulsarsEvolution320x256.mpg (5.1 Mb)
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    Lecture 5

    6. Miscellany: Binaries, clusters and variables

    We discuss some of the more esoteric stars
    Lecture 6 links IA6-binaries.pdf (15 Mb) • Spectroscopic binary: (948 kb)
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    • Eclipsing binary: eclipsing.gif (288 kb)
    Animation by HMJ
    • Supernova: saul_sm.qt (5.8 Mb)
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    • X-ray sources: (1.8 Mb)
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    • Cepheid variables: pulsate.mpg (536 kb)
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    • Pulsars in 47 Tuc: 47tucmovie.mpg (9.3 Mb)
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    • Cluster simulation: n12kmovie.mpg (8.3 Mb)
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    Lecture 6
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    7. Our galaxy: putting the pieces together

    We look at the whole ecosystem of stars which is our Galaxy
    Lecture 7 links IA7-milkyway.pdf (26 Mb) • Adaptive optics: aomovie_hist.gif (538 kb)
    • Star motions at the galactic centre: 2011orbits_animfull.gif (639 kb)
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    Lecture 7
    (done out of order)

    8. Galaxies: normal galaxies to quasars

    We look at the ways galaxies live and evolve
    Lecture 8 links IA8-galaxies.pdf (31 Mb) • Antennae formation: SDvision-ANTENNES_t1.avi (12.2 Mb)
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    • Milky Way-Andromeda collision: hs-2012-20-a-640x360_xvid.avi (16.7 Mb)
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    Lecture 8

    9. Cosmology: the universe as a whole

    We look at the origin and evolution of the Universe
    Lecture 9 links IA9-cosmology.pdf (8.8 Mb) • Zoom of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: zoomHUDF.mp4 (10.1 Mb)
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    • Millennium simulation: lcdm_color2_highres_divx.avi (11.9 Mb)
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    • First stars: (40 Mb)
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    • Galaxy formation: vl_form_z12to0.mpg (228 Mb)
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    • Bullet cluster: DarkMatter.mp4 (12 Mb)
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    Lecture 9

    10. The next big thing(s)

    Modern astronomy: exoplanets, the "new astronomies", dark energy...
    Lecture 10 links IA10-LIGO-Gaia.pdf (45 Mb)   Lecture 10


Last updated 25 February 2019

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