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Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe. They are giant systems containing a thousand billion stars, and interstellar material in the form of gas and dust. One hundred years ago we only knew of one galaxy — our Milky Way; we now have observed (literally) billions of them. In the 1970s astronomers were shocked to discover that galaxies contain five times more material, in the form of “dark matter,” than in the stars and gas that we can detect. Even more recently we have discovered that every galaxy has a supermassive black hole in its center, weighing in at a million to a billion times the mass of our Sun. Astronomers have formulated a narrative of how galaxies form and evolve over the age of the universe, but recent discoveries from the Webb Telescope are challenging some aspects of that story and may point to the need for fundamental revisions of our theories. In this course we will examine what we know, and what we don’t know, about these intriguing systems.
Class Limit: None
No Class on April 23, April 30, and May 7

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. degree 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.
This course can be taken either in-person or on-line via Zoom - choose when you register.
In-person students must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to register for this course.
In-person students will follow the current mask policy of the course site.


 If you want to register and are not yet a member, Click here for New Member Signup

Tuesday, April 2, 2024, 1:30 PM until Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
Zoom: link will be sent by email before first class.
In-person: St Andrews Church
11 Glidden St
New Castle, ME  
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Ted Williams
Spring 2024
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
You must be an active CSC member to register for this course.
Cancellation Policy:
A member may cancel a course registration up to 3 days prior to the start of class and will receive a course credit that can be used for a future registration. No refunds will be given.