Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer 2014 quarter (Session II)

Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling

This class is focused on fieldwork and activities designed for amateur astronomers and those interested in inquiry-based science education, as well as those interested in exploring mythology, archeo-astronomy, literature, philosophy, history, and cosmological traditions.   Students will participate in a variety of activities from telling star-stories under the night sky to working in a computer lab to create educational planetarium programs. We will employ qualitative and quantitative methods of observation, investigation, hands-on activities, and strategies that foster inquiry based learning and engage the imagination. Through readings, lectures, films, workshops, and discussions, participants will deepen their understanding of the principles of astronomy and refine their understanding of the role that cosmology plays in our lives through the stories we tell, the observations we make, and the questions we ask.

 We will participate in field studies at the Oregon Star Party as we develop our observation skills, learn to use binoculars, star-maps, and navigation guides to identify objects in the night sky, and operate 8” and 10” Dobsonian telescopes to find deep space objects. We will camp in the desert and do fieldwork for a week.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

astronomy, education, public programs and interpretive work (museums, parks, observatories, outdoor education), writing, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, mythology and storytelling, scientific research

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day, Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule: 2-10pm, Thursdays July 31 and Aug. 7, 14, 28; field studies (Aug. 19-24)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Off Campus Location

Pine Mountain Observatory and Oregon Star Party in the high desert of Central Oregon.

Required Fees

$380 for travel and field study expenses, guest lecturers, and supplies

Special Expenses

Students must bring their own camping gear, supplies, food, etc. for camping in the high desert. Contact instructor for details.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Summer)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 20


Course Reference Number

Second Session (8 credits): 40020

Go to to register for this program.

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