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Central Coast Astronomical Society

This one-semester course is a descriptive survey of and introduction to the conceptual aspects of astronomy.  The emphasis of this course is on developing observational and predictive astronomy skills, understanding concepts and applying analytical reasoning, and not on rote memorization of facts and figures!  Student learning outcomes are:

● Understand the celestial cycles of the stars, the Sun, the Moon, and of the planets.
● Compare/contrast features of the geocentric and heliocentric models of planetary motion, understand the scientific
    method, and how it was applied in the historical triumph of heliocentrism over geocentrism.
● Explain how optical and radio telescopes work.
● Explain properties of planets, rings, satellites, and debris (asteroids and comets).
● Explain the evolution of the Sun and planets from their origins to their present state.
● Quantify properties of stars, and how these properties are determined and explain how stars are born, live, and die.
● Explain properties and evolution of binary stars and compact companions.
● Explain properties and evolution of our Milky Way galaxy, and of other galaxies.
● Explain the history of our universe, current theories, and their supporting evidence.
● Discuss the state of investigating the extraterrestrial hypothesis, and/or other topics at the forefront of astronomy research.

Tom Smith and  Russ Genet set up equipment
for the transit of Mercury across the Sun

Russ explains the observational process
 to North County Astronomy Students


Bowen Observatory Manager Robin White assist students observing the moon during a class "star party"
 at South County Center in Arroyo Grande


South County students observe  through Robin's 10" Meade telescope and made drawings of their observations


Robin White shares his skills in astrophotometry with Astronomy 10 students at a student "star party"


Russ and wife Cheryl (left) host student star party at the Orion Observatory.  In the center picture, students
Noll Roberts (left) and Casey Milne (center) share the observational skills in CCD photometry they have
learned using the observatory's 10" Meade telescope equipped with  a CCD camera, with Derrick LaVoie, a
biology instructor at Cuesta College (right).  Even puppy Charlotte, a favorite guest at the party, enjoyed the activities.


In the left picture, Tom Smith, Director of the Dark Ridge Observatory (left), and  Professor Pat Len,
astronomy and physics instructor at  Cuesta College (right), lend a skilled hand as Russ (center) assists
students in understanding and using observational telescopes.  In the right picture,
Russ and Noll Roberts take a moment from their work at the Orion Observatory to pan for the camera.


Students and guests in Russ' Astronomy class on Cuesta's San Luis Obispo campus during an Astronomy Symposium.  Students organized, publicized, and presented their own symposium at which they gave the
astronomy papers they researched and wrote during the semester and bound into a symposium proceedings.


Russ lecturing and at his desk during his North County Campus Astronomy class

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