Online Introduction to Astronomy

AST 111 - Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy

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Have you ever looked up at the night sky and marveled at the vastness and complexity of space? You are invited to take a deeper dive into the mind-blowing world of astronomy. At the end of this course, you will walk away with the knowledge to answer the following questions:

  • Where did our solar system come from?
  • How is our solar system structured?
  • What makes up our solar system - what are its contents?
  • What are exosolar planetary systems?
  • What is the history of the field of astronomy?
  • Why are the various properties of light important to astronomy?
  • What are the various instruments used in astronomy and how are they used?

Throughout the course, you will also take a look at nearby stars and learn about the Lowell Observatory,

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Course prerequisites and requirements

To be successful in this course, we recommend English language fluency and computer literacy. We also encourage you to make sure your laptop or desktop computer meets the technical requirements.

College algebra, or MAT 117, is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for success in this astronomy course. In this course, you’ll be:

  • Executing arithmetic.
  • Identifying relevant equations.
  • Identifying values and their units.
  • Performing algebra to isolate quantities.
  • Understanding units.
  • Throughout the course, you’ll have success resources available, such as formula handouts.

Quick facts

Next start date:

Jan. 11, 2022

  • Credits: 4
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Cost: $25 + $400

What you’ll learn

  • Describe the origins, structure, contents, and evolution of our solar system.
  • Use algebra and order-of-magnitude estimates to obtain quantitative, scientific results.
  • Give clear explanations of physical phenomena.

What to expect in class

Video lectures, readings, labs, outdoor activities, homework, design project, discussions, live meetings with the instructor, quizzes, and a final exam.

Exams and grading


Homework (14)


Labs (7)


Outdoor Activities (3)


Quizzes (3)


Design Project (1)


Content Mastery (14)


Final Exam


This course appears on your transcript identically to how it appears on the transcript of an enrolled ASU student who has taken the course on one of ASU’s campuses.

This course includes a lab and satisfies 4 credit hours toward the Natural Science - Quantitative (SQ) General Studies requirement at Arizona State University. It is strongly encouraged that you consult with your institution of choice to determine how these credits will be applied to their degree requirements prior to transferring your credit.

Faculty and course staff

Dr. Frank

Dr. Frank



Arizona State University

Why take ASU Universal Learner Courses

  1. Credit you receive is from a regionally accredited university
  2. Your credit is highly transferable
  3. You only pay the $400 course cost if you pass

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