NAT109 - Planets, Stars and Galaxies: Exploring Space

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Last revision date Nov 17, 2020 11:40:39 AM
Last review date Nov 17, 2020 11:40:55 AM

Subject Title
Planets, Stars and Galaxies: Exploring Space

Subject Description
This course is a history of ideas, with special reference to the Universe. We will look at early Greek, Egyptian and Chinese attempts to understand the starry heavens and the earth's place therein. We will follow the work of the great interpreters of the universe and attempt to understand the perceptual, political and religious problems that stood in the way of accuracy. Finally, we will look at modern interpretations of the universe and its use in the art of navigation. Thus an examination of our current understanding of the universe is central to the course.

Credit Status
One General Education elective credit in the Sciences and Social Sciences category.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Identify common constellations to navigate using the night sky.
  2. Analyze observed short and long term cycles to explain the motions of the Earth and the Moon.
  3. Discuss the historical developments of ideas about Earth’s place in the universe to summarize the emergence of the science of astronomy.
  4. Analyze the properties of stars and their evolution to explain the origin of the Solar system.
  5. Review the properties of the Milky Way and other galaxies to summarize the structure and history of the observable universe.
  6. Compare the planets in the Solar system to review their properties and summarize results from modern exploration missions.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.