T4202 ASTRONOMY OF THE SOUTHERN SKIES
January 2-23, 2014
Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea
The heavens provide the starting place for understanding ourselves. The earliest of recorded history shows mankind looking upward and trying to learn exactly what is their place in the cosmos. Modern astronomy applies everything we know from all of the sciences to understand this cosmic perspective. This course explores the cosmic landscape with a focus on the South Pacific. We’ll begin our journey by investigating the cycles of the sky, which operated millennia ago and still maintain that rhythm today. As we look at the history of astronomy and its growth from an art to a quantitative science we will see around us the echoes of tikis, canoes, and Polynesians who made contributions without the fundamentals of the Phoenician number system. Building on the foundations of astronomy we transition to astronomy as a quantitative science and begin to explore our universe.
As cosmic explorers we will have unique perspectives of the Sun, the Moon and the planets from the southern hemisphere. But this solar system is a small part of the larger domain we call the Milky Way. Made up of hundreds of billions of stars we extend our studies by investigating stellar structure and evolution. We will be able to see phenomena in the southern hemisphere – the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (companion galaxies to our Milky Way), Crux - the Southern Cross, the Jewel Box, the Coal Sack and other objects that confirm our knowledge of the nature of these heavens.
Finally we look at galaxies and the universe, its structure and evolution, and venture into the possibilities of multiverses. Just how did it begin and what is our place in it? When we’ve reached this point we will see that we are back where we started and recognize that we’ve only just begun. What the ancient Polynesian voyagers saw, what we see today, will help us reach out and touch the face of God.
Using our own telescope, I will show you things you have not dreamed of. We will see the Southern Cross from the beach, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds with our naked eyes and experience astronomy in a way totally different than ever before. Forevermore the night sky will be different, and it will be your friend forever.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, continental breakfast daily, seven lunches and four dinners. (subject to change)
The course does not have any academic prerequisites.
Required Textbook: Explorations, 6th Edition Thomas Arny and Stephen Schneider
Recommended Reading: Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
33 1/3% Participation
33 1/3% Laboratory Notebook
33 1/3% Final Exam
Terrence Flower, Ph.D., St. Catherine University (651) 261-8873
Description of Faculty Director
Dr. Flower is a physicist and practicing astronomer. His professional work has taken him to both hemispheres including New Zealand, Australia, Tahiti, Midway Island, Hawaii and even the Arctic and Antarctic. He has taught physics and astronomy at St. Catherine University for more than 20 years and served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. His research topics include comets, asteroids, supernovae and atmospheric phenomena, stellar structure and evolution. He has led UMAIE courses to Europe, Antarctica, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa and Tonga and directed several NSF Chautauqua Courses in Astronomy for college faculty.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Terry Flower
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.