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Astronomy Class at Foothill

Andrew Fraknoi

Are you in mourning for Pluto?

Do you hope that we will find alien civilizations whose economies are in better shape than ours?

Are you scared that what killed the dinosaurs might get us too?

Then you may want to take Astronomy 10A at Foothill College:
"An Introduction to the Planets & Life Out There"

Learn about Makemake and the other dwarf planets at the edge of the Solar System. Find out more about the weird planets astronomers are finding around other stars. Get up to speed on the water geysers on one of Saturn's moons (and take a peek at Saturn's kinky rings). This is an exciting time for planet fans, and we invite you to spend 11 "far-out" weeks being part of the excitement.

Astronomy 10A is an introductory course for non-science majors, requiring no background in science or math. We introduce the basic ideas with analogies, examples from real life, the latest color images shown on a big screen, and touches of humor. The instructor, Andrew Fraknoi, specializes in explaining scientific ideas in everyday language.

The course is offered at Foothill College both during the day (Mon, Tues, and Thursday, from 12 noon to 1:25 pm) and in the evening (Tues and Thurs, from 6:00 to 8:20 pm) in room 8338. An optional hands-on lab class (Astronomy 10L) accompanies each course.

Winter Quarter at Foothill starts January 5th. Registration begins December 1 for current students and December 8th for new students. Registration fees are extremely reasonable. Adults who do not need a grade can make arrangements with the instructor.

To enroll, please go to the college web site at: and click on "Apply and Register" at the top menu.
Or go to the admissions center on campus. Or just come to the first class Jan 5 or 6 in room 8338.

For more information on the Foothill Astronomy Program, see:

Late News - January 21 talk at Foothill

On Wednesday, January 21, at 7 pm, Astronomer Anthony Colaprete of NASA's Ames Research Center will give a non-technical, illustrated talk on:
Prospecting for Water on the Moon:
The Upcoming LCROSS MIssion
as part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures in the Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, El Monte Road and Freeway 280, in Los Altos Hills, California.

Free and open to the public. Parking on campus costs $2.

Call the series hot-line at 650-949-7888 for more information and driving directions.

No background in science will be required for this talk. Seating is first come, first served.

This coming April, NASA will purposely crash two spacecraft into one of the Moon's polar regions. The impacts should raise huge plumes of material, visible even to smaller telescopes on Earth. Astronomers will search for evidence of water in the plumes to get a better sense of how much frozen water may lay hidden in the deep, shadowed craters of the Moon's North and South poles.

Dr. Colaprete, the Principal Investigator for this intriguing mission, will fill us in on why scientists believe there is water on the Moon (even though there is no air), and how we might put such water to use in future exploration. He will preview the LCROSS mission and discuss the campaign to observe the plumes from Earth and space.

The lecture is co-sponsored by:
* NASA Ames Research Center
* The Foothill College Astronomy Program
* The SETI Institute
* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

This talk is part of the local events celebrating the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.

Past Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are now available in MP3 format at:


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