Spring 2015

Alien Worlds

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as ASTR-112

Moodle site: Course


Nicolas B. Cowan (Section 01)


Thousands of planets have been discovered since the 1990s, all of them orbiting other stars. The existence of extrasolar planets confirms that planets are commonplace, but closer inspection of these planetary systems reveals that they are completely different from our Solar System. We will discuss how planets form, how they change with time, and how we can observe them with current and planned telescopes.  Along the way, students will explore what makes Earth habitable and will estimate the likelihood that such conditions exist on nearby exoplanets. Two 80-minute sessions per week.

Not open to upper-division students majoring in the physical sciences.  Spring semester.  Professor Cowan.


Quantitative Reasoning, Science & Math for Non-majors


2019-20: Offered in Fall 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2017, Fall 2018