Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories

Summer 2021 Full Session
Day, Evening and Weekend
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 17
4 8 12 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

Astronomy and Cosmology: Stars and Stories  (8 credits)

Dates: June 23 - Aug. 12 (FULL Session)
Wednesdays. 6-10:00 PM—Remote online classes & virtual stargazing
Thursdays. 6-11:00 PM Stargazing on campus (following COVID safety protocols)

Join us for adventures in astronomy combined with a study of science, story, and sustainability. We will explore inquiry-based science education (STEAM), mythology, archeo-astronomy, literature, philosophy, history, and cosmological traditions. Students will participate in activities from creating podcasts of star-stories to working with virtual planetarium programs, star-finding, and developing individual projects. We will employ qualitative and quantitative methods of observation, investigation, virtual and hands-on activities, and strategies that foster inquiry-based learning and engage the imagination. Through readings, lectures, films, workshops, discussions, and presentations, participants will deepen 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.

*Hybrid Field Studies
Students will participate in virtual and modified “in-person” field-studies as they develop observation skills online and in the field. They will learn to make naked-eye observations, use binoculars, star-maps, navigation guides, and to operate Dobsonian telescopes and virtual programs to identify objects in the night sky. On Wednesday nights, we will conduct class and star-finding sessions remotely. On Thursday nights, we will meet on campus, and will follow COVID safety and social distancing protocols. Students who are not able to attend “in-person” sessions will be given remote options. Students who want to maximize their proficiencies and learning are encouraged to check out binoculars or telescopes, and to work on their own outside of class.

Safety modifications will include: Following the COVID safety plan for field studies,  wearing masks and gloves; spreading out observation sites; checking- out telescopes or binoculars for use by individual students; wiping down exposed areas; and other methods to sterilize sensitive equipment. Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) sessions; however, if students find themselves unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.

Astronomy Research - Group Contract  (4 credits)

Dates: June 22-Aug.17 (Full session)
Tuesdays, 6-8 PM Remote Online learning, Canvas and Zoom

The Institute for Student Astronomical Research (InStAR) is hosting a 4-credit online contract for Evergreen students who want to participate in astronomy research. Projects can include binary star research, exoplanets, or variable stars. To be successful, students must complete the InStAR online coursework and demonstrate their understanding of scientific and astronomical research methods. All sessions and learning will be virtual. Students must work as a team to select a binary star or other target, 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 (JDSO), Astronomy, Theory, Observations, and Methods Journal (ATOM), or Robotic Telescope Student Research and Education Journal (RTSRE). They will also give a public online presentation of their findings. Students will work online and remotely with: Ivan Altunin, Astronomy, U.C. Berkley; Rachel Freed, Ph.D. Candidate, Astronomy Education, Russell Genet, Ph.D., Research Advisor, Evergreen faculty, and Greener Grads who have successfully completed the program. Students who demonstrate advanced work can earn upper-division credit. Course Fee: $350 (InStAR Registration and text.)

12 Credit Option:

Students are encouraged to take both sections: “Stars and Stories: Astronomy and Cosmology” (8 credits), and “Research Group Contract: (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


Summer 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Full Session (12): 40070
Full Session (8): 40071
Full Session (4): 40072

Academic details

Preparatory For

astronomy, education, public programs and interpretive work (museums, parks, observatories, outdoor education, and leadership), writing, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, mythology, storytelling, scientific research and writing, sustainability studies, cultural and community studies, environmental policy, and the arts.  

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

4 credits: $350 which includes InStAR registration and texts.

8 credits: $100 for supplies.

12 credits: $450 to cover both fees listed above


Time Offered
Day, Evening, and Weekend
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting