Today I start giving a course of 4 sessions on Astronomy. Attached is the poster.
The course covers a wide range of relevant topics and celebrates Astronomy as the ultimate science that fuses Physics, Mathematics, Geometry, Chemistry, and many other disciplines. The picture becomes even more interesting as we tackle the big questions of Cosmology and the infinitely small dynamics of Quantum Physics.
From Aristarchus to Sagan and from Ptolemy to Hawking, this is one incredible journey…the journey of science as it turned its attention to our universe and the forces that shape it.
The stars you see at night live and die, just like us.
They are born (from nebulae, or clouds of gas, dust and matter), they live (by Stellar Nucleosynthesis that allows them to generate energy through nuclear reactions), then die…and just like us, they die in different ways…
Some die of ageing, eventually shrinking and turning into cold dim bodies known as White Dwarfs (before losing all heat and becoming Black Dwarfs).
Some seem to suffer a massive accident, exploding into a Super Giant then contracting to become compact stars made up only of neutrons, known as Neutron Stars.
Some others seem to commit suicide becoming Black Holes that cannibalize other stars.
Some go crazy and spin around their axis hundreds of times a second, becoming Pulsars.
It is a strange universe that we are living in, and yet, we only see these massive stars that resemble nuclear furnaces as twinkling dots in the night sky, and that alone is magical enough.
I leave you with this quote by Carl Sagan:
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star-stuff.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
I would like to thank all those of you who attended my course on astronomy in Cairo (January 23rd). The one-day crash course tackled the following topics:
1- Basic Terminology and Concepts
2- The Cosmic Model through the Ages
3-The Constellations & the Zodiac
4- The Solar System
5- Stars & Nebulae
6- Galaxies, Galactic Groups, Superclusters
7- Extraterrestrial Intelligence
8- Colors of the Universe…Music of the Spheres