Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Course Content and Outcomes Guide for PHY 122 Effective Fall 2021

Course Number:
PHY 122
Course Title:
Stars and Stellar Evolution
Credit Hours:
4
Lecture Hours:
30
Lecture/Lab Hours:
0
Lab Hours:
30
Special Fee:
$12.00

Course Description

Introduces stellar astronomy, including our sun, properties of stars, and stellar evolution. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and (MTH 65 or MTH 98) or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course will have as many of the following components as possible:  lectures, discussions, lab activities, telescope viewing session, videos, slides, CD’s, and computer aided instruction. It is necessary to successfully complete the lab part of the course in order to pass the course.

The text and materials for this course have been chosen by the faculty and the viewpoint shall be that of the author(s). This includes the topics of relativity, the geologic time scale, the evolution of the Earth, our solar system, our galaxy, and the universe.

Students are expected to be able to read and comprehend college level science texts and perform basic mathematical operations in order to successfully complete this course. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Analyze the formation of our sun and other stars, their properties, and how to interpret the information received from radiation from the stars.
  • Use the process of stellar evolution to explain red giants, neutron stars, black holes, and white dwarf stars.
  • Access space science information from a variety of sources, evaluate the quality of this information, and compare this information with current models of astronomical processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Make field-based observations and measurements of astronomical phenomena, use scientific reasoning to interpret these observations and measurements, and compare the results with current astronomical models identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Assess the contributions of astronomy to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of astronomy in its historical and cultural context.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

General education philosophy statement

PHY 122 delves into the conceptual understanding of the cosmos by acknowledging the role of historical societies in the development of modern science and astronomy, organically discovering our place in the vast cosmos, introducing students to the advancements in technology that made astronomical discoveries possible, adapting the learner toward quantitative reasoning through manipulating mathematical formulas, adapts the learner toward qualitative reasoning through piecing together scientific laws, developing the skill to conceptually organize theoretical knowledge and experiential observation to formulate scientific truths, and appreciating aesthetic properties of celestial events and bodies.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

 COURSE CONTENT:  (note: the topics may be selected in any order by the instructor) 

  1. Star names, magnitude scales, and topics in the history of astronomy, at the discretion of the instructor.

  2. Our sun , its properties and features, and its history and future.

  3. The electromagnetic spectrum, Doppler effect, and stellar spectra.

  4. Stars and their properties.

  5. The interstellar medium and stellar formation, and brown dwarf objects.

  6. Methods of determining distances to stars.

  7. Color-magnitude diagrams. (including  “H-R diagrams”)

  8. Stellar evolution, including: red giants, planetary nebulae, neutron stars, black holes, and white dwarf stars.