Astronomy 101: Principles of Astronomy

San Diego State University

Spring 2016

The Crab Nebula

Finding our place in the universe has been a perennial human pastime. Here we present the results of this ongoing endeavor, covering such topics as the solar system, stars, galaxies, black holes, and cosmology. Particular emphasis will be placed on the historical development of ideas, as well as their philosophical implications. The class assumes no prior background in astronomy, although a general knowledge of science at the high-school level will be helpful. Mathematics will be limited to algebra and geometry.

Prerequisite: Interest.


Professor Douglas Leonard, dleonard AT mail DOT sdsu DOT edu
619-594-2215, Rm. 238 Physics building
Meeting times and locations T/Th 9:30 AM -- 10:45 AM, Rm. PG-153 (section 1)
T/Th 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Rm. EBA-343 (section 3)
Office Hours Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (just drop in, no appointment needed;
other days/times available by appointment).


Link to Blackboard Website (main, updated course webpage, for current students only).
Link to textbook website (for completing weekly on-line homework). Detailed instructions on how to register at the textbook website and take the quizzes can be found here.
Need help with astronomy 101? Visit the Astronomy Helproom!
Link to Astronomy Podcasts: here.

Sisyphus rolling a ball



  • Course Syllabus
  • Selected Class Handouts
  • Web links shown in class
  • Last Updated 2016.05.17 by Douglas Leonard