We live in a remarkably diverse, enigmatic, and beautiful cosmic neighborhood. In our lifetimes our knowledge of the Solar System has gone from sketchy and fanciful to extensive and rigorous. In this course we will visit all the major tourist spots (and also a few of the hidden gems), pick up some local culture, and breathe in the foreign atmospheres (well, not literally — that could be bad in certain places). We will discuss what we know about the Solar System, how we have come to know it, and what some of the unanswered questions are. By the end of our exploration you will know the planets and moons as individual places, and where you might want to build a cosmic vacation getaway (spoiler alert: there’s no place like home!).
Instructor Theodore (Ted) Williams is Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University and former Director of the South African Astronomical Observatory. He has a B.S. in physics from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. Ted spent most of his career at Rutgers, where he pursued observational studies of galaxies and developed astronomical instrumentation, while teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in physics and astronomy. He has spent innumerable nights at telescopes around the world, including observatories in California, Arizona, Texas, and Hawaii, as well as Chile, China and South Africa, and an orbiting facility on the Space Shuttle (Ted stayed firmly on the ground). He has taught a number of astronomy courses for Coastal Senior College.
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