InstantCREDIT Course



This course provides students with a comprehensive, practical introduction to astronomy with an emphasis on critical thinking about humanity’s place in the universe. The course covers modern theories and observations as well as ideas regarding nature, the evolution of galaxies, quasars, stars, black holes, planets and the solar system.

At a Glance

Course Value: 3 Credit Hours
Course Level: Lower-Level Undergraduate
Course Length: 65 lessons
🗎 Download Syllabus in Word Format

Course Outline

Click on a chapter name below to expand and see the lessons contained in that chapter.

Ch. 1: A Modern View of the Universe
- 1: The Scale of the Universe
- 2: The History of the Universe
- 3: Spaceship Earth
Ch. 2: Discovering the Universe for Yourself
- 4: Patterns in the Night Sky
- 5: The Reason for Seasons
- 6: The Moon, our Constant Companion
- 7: Ancient Mystery of the Planets
Ch. 3: The Science of Astronomy
- 8: The Ancient Roots of Science
- 9: Ancient Greek Science
- 10: The Copernican Revolution
- 11: The Nature of Science
Ch. 4: Understanding Motion, Energy, and Gravity
- 12: Describing Motion
- 13: Newton's Laws of Motion
- 14: Conservation Laws in Astronomy
- 15: The Force of Gravity
Ch. 5: Light: The Cosmic Messenger
- 16: Basic Properties of Light and Matter
- 17: Learning from Light
- 18: Collecting Light with Telescopes
Ch. 6: Formation of the Solar System
- 19: A Brief Tour of the Solar System
- 20: The Nebular Theory of Solar System Formation
- 21: Explaining the Major Features of the Solar System
- 22: The Age of the Solar System
Ch. 7: Earth and the Terrestrial Worlds
- 23: Earth as a Planet
- 24: The Moon and Mercury: Geologically Dead
- 25: Mars, a Victim of Planetary Freeze Drying
- 26: Venus, a Hothouse World
- 27: Earth as a living planet
Ch. 8: Jovian Planet Systems
- 28: A Different Kind of Planet
- 29: A Wealth of Worlds: Satellites of Ice and Rock
Ch. 9: Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets
- 30: Classifying Small Bodies
- 31: Asteroids
- 32: Comets
- 33: Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
- 34: Cosmic Collisions - Small Bodies vs Planets
Ch. 10: Other Planetary Systems
- 35: Detecting Planets Around Other Stars
- 36: The Nature of Planets Around Other Stars
- 37: The Formation of Other Planetary Systems
Ch. 11: Our Star
- 38: The Sun, Our Star
- 39: Nuclear Fusion in the Sun
- 40: Sun-Earth Connection
Ch. 12: Surveying the Stars
- 41: Properties of Stars
- 42: Patterns in the Stars
- 43: Star Clusters
Ch. 13: Star Stuff
- 44: Star Birth
- 45: Life as a Low Mass Star
- 46: Life as a High Mass Star
Ch. 14: The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard
- 47: White Dwarfs
- 48: Neutron Stars
- 49: Black Holes: Gravity’s Ultimate Victory
Ch. 15: Our Galaxy
- 50: The Milky Way Revealed
- 51: Galactic Recycling
- 52: The History of the Milky Way
Ch. 16: A Universe of Galaxies
- 53: Islands of Stars
- 54: Distances of Galaxies
- 55: Galaxy Evolution
- 56: The Role of Supermassive Black Holes
Ch. 17: The Birth of the Universe
- 57: The Big Bang Theory
- 58: Evidence for the Big Bang
- 59: The Big Bang and Inflation
Ch. 18: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Fate of the Universe
- 60: Unseen Influences in the Cosmos
- 61: Structure Formation
Ch. 19: Life in the Universe
- 62: Life on Earth
- 63: Life in the Solar System
- 64: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
- 65: Interstellar Travel and Implications for Civilizations

Course Requirements

All of our courses are scored on a 1,000 point scale. You must accumulate a total of 700 points in the course to pass the course. Below is the breakdown of how points are allocated:

Study Questions300 points
Graded Exam #1100 points
Midterm Exam200 points
Graded Exam #2100 points
Final Exam300 points

For additional details on the assignments, exams, and retake policies, check the syllabus for this course (link provided near the top of this page).

Exam Proctoring

The Final Exam for this course is administered in conjunction with a 3rd party online proctoring service, PSI Services' RPNow. RPNow proctoring allows you to take the exam on a desktop or laptop computer from anywhere you have internet access at any time, no scheduling required.

Proctoring costs $15 (paid directly to PSI Services at the time of the exam) and is ONLY required for the final exam.

Earning Credit for this Course

This course has been reviewed by ACE Credit and is recommended for 3 lower-level credit hours. Upon successful completion of this course, it will be added to your ACE transcript which is then sent to your school to be evaluated for transfer credit.

➡ Link to our ACE National Guide profile

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