AAA Spring Astronomy Class: The Physics of Astronomy – February – March 2016

This course is for intermediate level students. It covers the forces behind astronomy, especially gravitation, the characteristics of light waves, spectra, and the inverse square law. Basic proficiency in mathematics is assumed. A calculator will be required.

Wednesday, Feb 24 – Kepler and Newton: Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, Newton’s laws of force and motion, universal gravitation, circular motion, centripetal force, understanding orbits

Wednesday, Mar 2 – Lenses and Telescopes: refractors and reflectors, curved mirrors, focal length, importance of aperture, key aspects in buying a telescope

Wednesday, Mar 9 – Light: four representations (waves, ripples, rays, particles), light as an electromagnetic wave (color, speed), dispersion of light into colors using prisms and diffraction gratings

Wednesday, Mar 16 – Star Brightness: inverse square law, measuring brightness as m, M, L

Wednesday, Mar 23 – Spectra: spectroscopy,emission vs absorption spectra, Doppler effect, using spectra to determine composition, velocity, temperature, detection of exoplanets

Wednesday, Mar 30 – Absolute Temperature: temperature scales (Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin), absolute zero, planet and deep space temperatures, importance to Big Bang Theory


Time:  classes start at 6:30 PM and go until 8:30 PM.

Location: all classes are held at Cicatelli Center, 505 8th Ave, at 35th St. in Manhattan, 20th Floor (except 3/9 on the 19th Floor).

Instructor: David Kiefer
David Kiefer holds various Masters degrees, including a M.S. in astronomy from the Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia.  He has taught physics and astronomy at colleges in New York and New Jersey,  and is presently a lecturer at City College and at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York.  A member of the AAA, Mr. Kiefer observes regularly at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

Registration:  Closed.

Registration Fee: $60, members only. If you are not an AAA member yet, please become a member first.