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Astronomy (Honors)

Department: Science
Open to: Seniors
Length: 2 Semesters

Honors Astronomy is a college-level laboratory course that emphasizes a broad range of astronomical, astrophysical and cosmological processes. By combining inquiry-based labs, on-line resources and real-time astronomical observations with classroom discussions, students explore both well-established and newly-revealed discoveries of the cosmos. Major areas of study include the complex motions of the Earth, gravitation, the nature of light, optics and telescopes, manned and un-manned space missions, terrestrial and Jovian planets, asteroids and comets and meteoroids, the sun and stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, the Big Bang and early universe, extrasolar planets, extraterrestrial life, and the future of the universe. By the end of the course, students will be able to describe the relevance of astronomy, explain its major tenets, articulately expound the validity of accepted astronomical theories, distinguish between science and pseudoscience, critically analyze astronomic data and studies, and demonstrate a mastery of scientific inquiry. Students must have successfully completed at least two years of science (Honors Chemistry and another AP science preferred) and three years of math (including at least Honors Algebra 2 or Honors Pre-Calculus) to register for honors astronomy.