Learn how astronomers make discoveries about the universe

This course will explore the interplay between the growth of our understanding of the universe and the development of the methods and technologies that have enabled new discoveries.

We'll start with an overview of what our naked-eye observations have revealed about the universe. We'll then retrace the arguments that led the ancient Greeks to believe that the Earth is not at the center of the universe and consider how Johannes Kepler used Tycho Brahe's measurements to understand planetary orbits.

We'll also study the design and capabilities of optical telescopes from Galileo to the Hubble Space Telescope, the Rubin Observatory, and the Extremely Large Telescopes to discover the faintest or most explosive objects in space.

We'll look at the different views of the universe contributed by telescopes designed to detect wavelengths other than visible light, such as short gamma and X-rays and long infrared and radio waves.

We'll consider topics including how we can detect dark matter, measure the evolution of dark energy, probe the first moments of cosmic time, and make an image of a black hole.