S04 - 
Celestial Worlds Discovered: The Earth from a Cosmic Perspective
  What is the Earth's place in the Universe? We will begin locally with the Goldilocks problem: Venus is too hot, Mars is too cold, and the Earth is just right. How did this come about, and how special is the Earth? We will explore global warming, runaway greenhouses, and cosmic threats to life, such as giant asteroid impacts that may have killed off the dinosaurs. At Jupiter and Saturn, we will visit worlds with swirling storms, beautiful rings, and a hoard of exotic moons--some with active volcanoes, rivers of methane, and underground oceans. Next, we will explore the bizarre and provocative planetary worlds orbiting other stars in our galaxy, and consider the prospects for life elsewhere in the universe. We'll conclude with a whirlwind tour of the origin and fate of the universe itself, from the Big Bang to the unimaginably distant future. The seminar will be held at the Whitin Observatory, Wellesley College.
Off Campus
1/15/2021, 1/22/2021