INX300 - Astronomy

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-04-11 08:13:53.831
Last review date 2018-04-11 08:14:19.933

Subject Title

Subject Description
This course introduces students to the science of Astronomy. They will study the planets, stars, galaxies, the structure of the observable universe and our place in it. Students will understand the Earth's motions, the reason for seasons, tides, and eclipses. They will learn about the workings of the universe and the techniques used in modern astronomy, contemporary views of the solar system, and the nature of stars and their evolution. Students will gain firsthand knowledge using real astronomical data to understand the nature of the universe. As a result, they will develop a better appreciation of the beauty of the cosmos and the scientific quest to understand it.

Credit Status
Liberal Studies Option for college degree programs and an upper semester breadth option for students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program..

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Summarize the scales of the observable universe in space and time.
  2. Analyze Earth's motions, lunar phases, solar and lunar eclipses.
  3. Explain the methods used by astronomers to investigate the nature of the universe.
  4. Summarize the modern understanding of formation of the Solar system.
  5. Analyze the solar cycle of the Sun its effect on Earth and surrounding space
  6. Summarize the different techniques used in hunting for planets beyond our solar system. 
  7. Explain the properties of stars and stages of stellar evolution.
  8. Analyze our Milky Way and other galaxies and the evidence for dark matter. 

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


ENG 106 or one lower-level liberal studies (LSO) or Critical Thinking course.

Topic Outline

  • Discovering the Night Sky.
  • The Nature of Light
  • Telescopes and other tools of Astronomers
  • Exoplanets
  • Our Sun
  • Stellar Lives and Deaths
  • Our Milky Way and other Galaxies

Mode of Instruction

Your instructor will use a variety of appropriate teaching modes and techniques such as the following: lectures, question and answer, tutorials, classroom discussion, group work, individual and/or group presentations, consultations, and online assignments.


Prescribed Texts
In class

Comins, Neil F. Discovering the Essential Universe, Latest Edition. Macmillan.


See professor's addendum.

Reference Material

All students are required to use the following research guide for their assignments: Seneca Libraries APA Citation Guide, found on the web at

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Term Work

All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned.  
Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.

Classroom   Online  
Quizzes 20% Discussions 15%
Project Activities 30% Project Activities 55%
Mid-Term Test 20%    
Final Exam 30% Final Research Project 30%

Student Success:

Please come prepared to participate in class. Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time, and attend each and every class. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Please access the course every week (or more) and keep up with assigned readings. Make sure you participate in online discussions and hand in any assigned work on time. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.



Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood