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Compton College / Academic Programs / Division 1 /


The mission of the Astronomy Department is to prepare students to become knowledgeable, con-tributing citizens in a world of diverse cultures in which they work and live and to offer quality ed-ucational opportunities for students by providing courses that transfer to four-year institutions and offering associate degree courses that meet general education requirements. Vital to the mission of the departments is to aid in the understanding of new scientific knowledge through teaching, learning, and creative activity.

The Astronomy department offers course work in freshman-sophomore level astronomy, in both lecture and laboratory formats. A comprehensive lower division program in astronomy includes an examination of the solar system and the universe beyond. There is an evening laboratory course to complement the lecture courses. In another course, students have the ability to design and fabricate a telescope. These courses are offered primarily to satisfy students’ needs for a science requirement, but a significant fraction enrolls for personal enrichment. All of these cours-es are offered in venues that support innovative practices that enhance the educational experi-ence.

Astronomy Classes Offered at the El Camino College Compton Center

Astronomy 12                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Astronomy Laboratory

The astronomy laboratory provides students with an introduction to the observation of the sky with telescopes, binoculars, and the unaided eye. The student will become familiar with the principles of set up and operation of telescopes and use them to view the moon, the sun, planets, stars, star clusters, and nebulae. The student will use the principles of astronomy to interpret their observations. Students will also learn to identify the bright stars and major constellations visible in California.

Astronomy 20                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Solar System

This course is an introduction to the major planets and the smaller members of the solar system such as moons, asteroids, Kuiper Belt Objects, and comets. Theories of the origin and histories of the planets are presented. The early history of astronomy and the Copernican Revolution are discussed. Sky phenomena such as the constellations, the seasons, eclipses, and planetary motions are demonstrated in the planetarium. The possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system is examined.

Astronomy 25                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stars and Galaxies

This course is an introduction to the universe and its history. The main focus is on our view of the heavens and how astronomers learn about stars and galaxies. The formation, life histories, and fates of different kinds of stars, including the sun, are examined. Exotic stars as well as black holes are explored. The structure and distribution of galaxies are discussed, with a focus on our own Milky Way Galaxy. The possibility of simple and intelligent life in the Milky Way Galaxy will be examined. The history of the universe, starting with the Big Bang is also investigated.



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