When you look up into the sky you are looking at the part of the universe you can see from where you live. The universe is huge and vast. Even with a powerful telescope, astronomers cannot see the end of it. The universe started as pure energy. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but from that pure energy came everything in the universe. In this 3-week session, students will learn about the scientific model explaining how the universe and everything in it came into existence. We will follow that by learning about stars and cosmology. The concluding week, we will investigate the accretion model for planetary formation.
Week 1: The Big Bang an Expansion Event! The event that started the universe is called the Big Bang. It occurred 13.82 billion years ago. Based on its name, you probably think the universe started with a very loud bang. Actually, there was no noise at all. For there to be sound, there needs to be particles, and there were not any atoms, yet. The first atoms didn’t form until 380,000 years after the Big Bang occurred. In week 3, we will make a timeline for the Universe over the past 13.82 billion years and learn about the effects of expansion.
Week 2: Stars & Cosmology – It was hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang that stars began to form. In week 2, we will learn about star chemistry, star identification & classification, star mapping, and conduct a research project.
Week 3: The Accretion Model for Planetary Formation – Our solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago when small grains of dust and gas began colliding and sticking together. This process is called accretion. This week we will investigate the connection between gravity and the formation of planets.