On a clear night, far from the light and the rush of the city, you can see thousands of stars. They tell our stories, guide our way, and quietly mark time. From a twinkle of light, the stars reveal something much more: the history of our celestial home, the Universe. From the formation of our planet, to the life of our Sun, the swirling maelstrom of our galaxy, and the unimaginable deep of Infinity, the lights of the night sky reveal the vast sweep of the cosmos.

In this course, we will explore the nature of stars and galaxies, clusters and nebulae. Weather permitting, we will—“mid song of birds, and insects murmuring”—learn practical astronomy with naked eye and telescopic night observations. No prior background in astronomy or physics is required. Please join me in what Wordsworth would call the “poetry of the heavens.”

Megan Pickett is an associate professor of physics at Lawrence University. She earned a B.A. in physics as Cornell University in 1988, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics from Indiana University in 1995. She was a research fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center until 1999, after which she taught at Valparaiso University and Purdue University, before joining Lawrence in 2006. She is currently writing a biography of Elda Anderson, a Manhattan Project Scientist and first woman to chair the physics department at Milwaukee-Downer College.” Her scholarly interests include the origins of solar systems, neutron star and black hole formation, and inclusive physics education.


Sunday, August 7, 2022 to Friday, August 12, 2022
Astronomy; Physics