Today we are officially announcing the publication of ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS, a curriculum created by Dr. Sarah Salviander, a research scientist whose areas of particular interest are quasars and supermassive black holes. She is a research scientist at the University of Texas, is one of the authors of “Evolution of the Black Hole Mass – Galaxy Bulge Relationship for Quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7” and “Narrow Emission Lines as Surrogates for σ * in Low- to Moderate-z QSOs” in addition to many other scientific papers, and teaches classes as a visiting professor of physics at Southwestern University. Dr. Salviander describes the new curriculum at Castalia House:
“Look around the web for a high-quality, modern-science astronomy homeschool course and you won’t find much. There are a handful of scripture-based astronomy courses that seem to cover little more than the seasons and motions of the night sky, and one very expensive software-based curriculum. I realized there was a need for a comprehensive, modern, and affordable astronomy homeschool curriculum, and set out to develop one based on my years of teaching astronomy at the university level. A couple of years ago, I mentioned this in an offhand way to Vox Day; it turns out Vox had been contemplating offering a series of affordable, electronically-available homeschool curricula, and so we began to discuss the possibility of making astrophysics the first of many such courses.”
The course is suitable for ages 13+ with the appropriate background in mathematics — basic algebra and geometry — but there is no science prerequisite. It was designed primarily with homeschoolers in mind, but it would also work very well in public/private high schools, either as a conventional science course or as an independent study for motivated students. It is also suitable for adults who wish to learn about astronomy and astrophysics in a self-guided continuing education sort of way.
We’ve had at least one person ask whether the course is suitable for students in the Southern Hemisphere. The answer is yes, mostly, with the exception of a couple of lab activities; I’m going to look into adapting the two lab activities that only work in the Northern Hemisphere. If anyone has other questions about the curriculum, don’t hesitate to contact me.