HC101H - Eclipses and Exoplanets: Life in the Shadows

Professor: Jesse Feddersen

4.00 credits

  • CRN 12416: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00-5:20pm @ GSH 131
  • CRN 12413: Monday & Wednesday, 2:00-3:20pm @ AGH 132

In William Shakespeare's King Lear, the Earl of Gloucester bemoans: "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us." In December 1870, the astronomer Jules Janssen escaped the Siege of Paris aboard a balloon to view a total solar eclipse. In this class, you will learn about our place in the solar system, read accounts of early eclipse hunters, study the science of exoplanetary eclipses, and consider the search for life in the Universe. You will explore eclipses as bad omens portending doom and as unique scientific opportunities to discover normally hidden truths about the Sun. Over the course of the term, you will read and write about cultural understandings of the Moon and Sun across place and time, analyze data from exoplanet transits, and produce a creative work imagining an exoplanet as an alien world.