Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer 2018 (Full Session)
Daytime Evening
Day and Evening
Class Size: 17
Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

Rebecca Chamberlain
literature, writing, storytelling

Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories  

(8 Credits/12 Credits) Join us for our ninth summer as we combine the interdisciplinary study of science and humanities with astronomy fieldwork. We will explore inquiry-based science education, mythology, archeo-astronomy, literature, philosophy, history, and cosmological traditions. Students will participate in a variety of activities from telling star-stories 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 attend the Pine Mountain Observatory, and the Oregon Star Party, in Central Oregon, where we will camp in the rugged high-desert for a week. We will participate in intensive field studies, develop our observation skills, learn to use binoculars, star-maps, and navigation guides to identify objects in the night sky, and operate Dobsonian telescopes to find deep space objects.

12 Credits: Students are encouraged to take both sections: 1)  “Stars and Stories: Astronomy and Cosmology (8 credits)", and 2) the “Binary Star Research Module (4 credits)”.  This gives students background, experience, and skills in astronomy education, fieldwork, research, writing, and publication, as well as a complex understanding of the relationship between the arts, sciences, humanities, and culture. 

Binary Star Research Module:
(4 credits) The Institute for Student Astronomical Research (InStAR) is hosting a 4-credit hybrid online research seminar for Evergreen students who want to participate in advanced astronomy research. To be successful, students must complete the InStAR online coursework and demonstrate their understanding of scientific, astronomical, and binary star research. They must work as a team to select a binary star, write a proposal, conduct observations with a remotely-located robotic telescope, analyze data, write a peer-reviewed scientific paper for publication in the Journal of Double Star Observations , and give a public presentation of their findings.Students will meet on campus with Evergreen faculty and work online and remotely with professor/research supervisor, Dr. Russell Genet, Ph.D. Astronomy and Rachel Freed, Ph.D. candidate, Astronomy Education. Students who do advanced work can earn upper-division credit.

Course Fee: $295 (includes InStAR Registration and text.)
If additional funds are raised, a reduction in the course fee will be distributed evenly among the students. 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

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


Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Variable Credit Options:

17 students can be admitted to the 8 credit class. I have confirmed our reservations with PMO, OSP, and the Vanpool 

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Special expenses:

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

8 credit students: $590 for travel, field study expenses, guest lecturers and mentors, and supplies.
12 credit students: $590 as listed above, plus $295 for binary star research module and text
4 credit students: $295 for binary star research module and text

Upper division science credit:

Upper division credit may be available in the Binary Star Research Model (4 credits). 

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 17
Daytime Evening

Scheduled for: Day and Evening

Final schedule and room assignments:

Advertised schedule:

8 credit schedule: Class: 6-10:30 pm, Thurs. June 28, July 12, 19, 26, Aug. 2, 16 and Field Trip: Aug 6-12

12 credit schedule: schedule above PLUS 6:00-8:00pm on Tuesdays June 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31, and Thursday Aug 16

4 credit schedule: 6:00-8:00pm on Tuesdays June 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31, and Thursday Aug 16

Located in: Olympia

Off-campus location:

Aug. 6th Pine Mountain Observatory

Aug. 7-12 Oregon Star Party, Ochoco National Forest in Eastern Oregon

2018-05-08Required fee for 4 and 12 credit students updated
2018-02-28Session changed (was previously listed as second only by error)