Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer 2017 quarter (Second Session)

Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling

This summer, our field-based interdisciplinary study of science and humanities will focus on the solar eclipse and activities designed for amateur astronomers.  Our work will include exploring 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 Oregon Star Party, in Central Oregon, where we will be in the direct path of the solar eclipse on August 21st. We will camp in the high desert for a week, where 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 8” and 12” Dobsonian telescopes to find deep space objects.

Program Details

Fields of Study

astronomy education field studies writing

Preparatory For

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


Summer Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered

Day and Evening

Advertised Schedule

Class: 6-10 pm, Mon/Wed, July 31, Aug. 2, 7, 9, 14, 28, 30; field studies in Oregon, Aug. 16-22


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


Special Expenses:

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

Required Fees:

$500 for travel and field study expenses, guest lecturers, and supplies