Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back to classes

This weeks have been a bit hectic, the new semester has started and I have been busy handling endless tasks (which is why I haven't posted much in these days).

This semester I will lecture for half of the general astronomy course, mostly about celestial mechanics (Keppler's laws, tides, Roche lobe and Lagrange points) and some practical optics (mostly the types of telescopes and the effect of diffraction on a telescope's resolution). The later half of the course is about stars and galaxies but I won't be lucky enough to lecture about that.

This seems to be a good place to hear your opinions/ideas about this kind of courses, I have always believed that these courses should be accessible to sophomores (or even freshmen), and with an emphasis on stars, galaxies and the universe more than an "applied physics" course (specially with central forces being discussed in most classical mechanics courses and the Rayleigh limit in optic courses), this could serve the double purpose of exposing students to the wonderful ideas of astronomy even if they lack a strong physics background and help to lure students in to the more advanced astronomy courses. What do you think?