Astronomy and Planetary Science
DURATION: THREE DAYs
COURSE NO.: 1020
This course provides a high-powered overview of modern astronomy and planetary science to professionals in
engineering, management and policy fields. The course begins with a survey of the universe, the astronomical
community, astronomical facilities and missions in order to provide some useful background. We will then cover
the basic elements of stellar physics and evolution, galactic formation and evolution, high-energy astronomy and
cosmology. At every step we will show how these fields relate to existing and planned missions and new
ground-based facilities. We will then survey the content of the solar system, focusing on what has been learned
through missions ranging from Apollo to Voyager, Viking, Magellan and Galileo. With this background established,
we will then cover the physics and descriptive aspects of modern astronomical instrumentation, including
spacecraft observatories and the special area of planetary mission instrumentation. The attendee will leave this
course with a thorough overview of modern astronomical and planetary science itself, as well as the terminology,
instrumentation and science goals of these two large scientific fields.
Include reference text, extensive notes and reference materials. NASA/NSF Videos will be shown. Bring a scientific calculator.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
This course provides an introduction to astronomy and planetary science, terminology and techniques for space
program project engineers, managers, marketers, and policy professionals, working projects and programs relating
to space-based, ground-based or aircraft observatories, as well as sounding rockets, the ISS, and planetary mission
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:
The basics of modern astronomy and planetary science, including: the key attributes of the bodies in the solar system,
the basics of modern stellar formation and evolution, galactic content and cosmology. Additionally, you will become
acquainted with the technical basis behind all modern types of astronomical investigations, from gamma-ray spectroscopy
to ultraviolet imaging to radio interferometry, and you will be given a grounding in the composition of the astronomical
community, its facilities and its research priorities.
- Quick history of modern astronomy. Distance scales. Content of the Universe, the Galaxy, the Solar System.
Astronomical facilities around the world. Astronomical specialties and the astronomical profession. The content
and description of the US astronomical community. Special Topic: NASA Missions: Past, Present and Future.
- Stellar types and stellar evolution. Star formation and death. The composition, physical properties and physics
of the interstellar medium. The extragalactic zoo. Modern cosmology. Special Topic: Astrophysics Missions Under
- Attributes and interrelationships among the four inner planets. Attributes and interrelationships among the four outer
planets. Overview of comets, asteroids and Pluto. Survey of the planetary satellites and rings. Planetary formation.
Special Topics: (1) Life on Mars? (2) Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Techniques and Instrumentation.
- Wavelength regimes and their applications to astronomy. Overview of astronomical instrumentation. Imaging
techniques. Spectroscopic techniques. Gravitational and neutrino astronomy. Planetary in situ and remote sensing
techniques. Astronomical databases. Special Topic: Detecting Extra Solar Planets.