Astronomy and Astrophysics

II - July 20–August 6, 2021 (Course Filled)
Modality, Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.

James Applegate with Bruce Greenspan
Chemistry and physics are strongly recommended but not required. Calculus is helpful but not necessary. Because this class takes a quantitative approach, participants should be comfortable using their math skills to solve problems.

“I loved learning about our universe, and the activity about going to Mars was super fun! I think I also learned a lot about group work and collaborating efficiently.”  – Jacqueline C. | Oakland Gardens, New York

Course Description

This course traces our knowledge of the universe from astronomy’s ancient roots to the modern study of extrasolar planetary systems, cosmology, and black holes. We begin with Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation, Kepler’s laws, orbital dynamics, and space travel. Next we take up the nature of light, the structure of matter, the emission and absorption of light by matter, and nuclear physics. We apply this knowledge to describe the properties of our sun and of the planets of our solar system, the properties and fate of stars in general, and the discovery of planets around other stars. Further topics include galaxies and the dark matter and black holes they contain, supernovae and the creation of chemical elements, and the expansion of the universe. We end with Einsteinian cosmology, the cosmic microwave background, dark energy, and the fate of the universe.

Registration Guidance & Call Number(s)

Please note, this course requires students to register with two call numbers. All students must register for the morning section. Students can then select one afternoon recitation section from the available options. To view detailed information on a particular offering, click on the call number to be directed to the Directory of Courses catalogue.

Session 2 Classes

Morning Lecture

All students must register for the morning lecture.

  • Lecture 01 | Call Number: 10326
  • Afternoon Recitations

    Select one call number from the options below.

  • Recitation 01 | Call Number: 10327
  • Recitation 02 | Call Number: 10328
  • Further guidance on the registration process can be found here.


    James H. Applegate

    James H. Applegate is a professor of astronomy at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in physics from SUNY at Stony Brook. He was a Bantrell Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and has served as chair of Columbia’s Astronomy Department. 

    Bruce Greenspan

    Bruce Greenspan holds a B.S.E. in electrical engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and a master's in physics education from Teachers College, Columbia University. After a few years in the financial world, he started his teaching career teaching A.P. Physics and SAT prep in Seoul, South Korea. Bruce has spent the last eleven years teaching in New York City. He currently instructs AP Physics and a modern physics elective (concentrating on special relativity and quantum mechanics) at Brooklyn Technical High School. He has received two fellowships from Math for America.

    Back to the Course Guide

    Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.