These pages are copied from Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes. Go to his site at for the updated and corrected version.

  1. Astronomy as a Science and a Sense of Scale
    I introduce astronomy's place in science, and give a sense of the size and time scales involved.
  2. Method for Finding Scientific Truth
    Borrowing from Pine's book "Science and the Human Prospect" I discuss the scientific method, correlations, problem of induction, positivism, levels of testimony, empiricism, models correspondence with reality.
  3. Astronomy Without a Telescope
    I discuss the celestial sphere, motions of the Sun (solar and sidereal days, time zones, equation of time, and seasons), motions of the Moon (phases and eclipses), and planetary motions.
  4. Newton's Law of Gravity
    Newton's laws of motion and his law of gravity are discussed. Applications of those laws (esp. gravity) are covered (e.g., measuring the masses of planets and stars, orbital motion, interplanetary trips, tides, etc.).
  5. Einstein's Relativity
    I discuss Einstein's Special Relativity and General Relativity theories. The concepts of spacetime and gravity as a warping of spacetime are introduced along with observational proofs of his theories.
  6. Electromagnetic Radiation (Light)
    General properties of light, definition of frequency, spectrum, temperature. Light production: Continuous (thermal) spectra, emission lines, absorption lines and the Bohr model for the atom. Doppler Effect and why spectral lines must be used to measure the doppler shifts.
  7. Determining Star Properties
    Notes for the properties of stars and how we determine them. Things like distances to stars, their masses, radii, composition and speeds. Also HR diagram, spectral types, and spectroscopic parallax. The dangers of selection effects and biased samples are also discussed with the application of finding what a typical star is like.
  8. The Sun and Stellar Structure
    This chapter covers: The Sun, interiors of stars, and nuclear fusion, neutrinos, the solar neutrino problem, and helioseismology. The concept of hydrostatic equilibrium is used to explain the mass-luminosity relation and the reason for the mass cut-off at the high and low ends.
  9. Lives and Deaths of Stars
    This chapter covers: stellar evolution (all nine stages) and stellar remnants (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes).
  10. The Interstellar Medium and the Milky Way
    This chapter covers: the dust and gas between the stars and how we use the 21-cm line radiation to map the Galaxy. Also, the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, our place in it, and how we determine these things. The rotation curve and the existence of the dark matter halo, stellar populations, and the galactic center are also discussed.
  11. Other Galaxies and Active Galaxies
    This chapter covers: the characteristics of other normal galaxies, active galaxies, and finding distances to other galaxies (this includes the distance-scale ladder). Also, large-scale structure is covered (galaxy clusters and collisions and superclusters).
  12. Cosmology
    This chapter covers cosmology. The distance-scale topic is dealt with in the Steps to the Hubble Constant document. I discuss Olbers' Paradox, the cosmic microwave background radiation, the fate of the universe (open or closed), dark matter, inflation, and the cosmological constant.
  1. Angular Momentum in Astronomy
    I define angular momentum and give several examples of angular momentum in astronomy: Kepler's second law of orbital motion, Earth-Moon system, rapidly spinning neutron stars, accretion disk in a binary system, and a collapsing galactic cloud.
  2. Quick Mathematics Review
    Here's a quick run through some basic mathematics: working with fractions and percentages, exponents, roots, powers of ten, working with really BIG or really small numbers, scientific notation and the metric system. I assume that the reader has had this stuff before, so the quick run through will be sufficient to jog the dormant memory.
  3. Tables
    Astronomy constants, physical constants, planets (orbital properties, physical characteristics, atmospheres), 100 nearest stars, and 100 brightest stars as seen from the Earth.
  4. Glossary
    Definitions of astronomy terms.

Is this page a copy of Strobel's Astronomy Notes?

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