Astronomy Class Looks Up, Learns

SPACE SCIENCES BUILDING—Students in ASTRO 1195: Observational Astronomy this week have been participating in a new groundbreaking form of experiential learning: looking up at the sky.


“You know, it really is an amazing experience that I don’t think I would be able to get anywhere else but at Cornell. We go outside, turn our heads upwards, and see that big bright sun,” says dazed Alexandra Heisen ‘24, “and we’re like ‘Yup, there it is. Fascinating.’”


Squinting students enrolled in the course praise it for its lack of traditional teaching methods, citing that although the course required the purchase of a $400 physical textbook, it has yet to be opened and is only used for seating when the grass is wet.


The course consists of tri-weekly 2 hour long labs of nothing but sittin’ back and keeping their eyes open. “It’s a super rigorous course, my eyes do get kind of strained at some points, but I really am learning a lot about how clouds can sometimes cover up the sun, and sometimes they can move away. It’s crazy,” continued Heisen.


As Cody Broffer ‘23 puts it, “Sometimes, the moon is full. Sometimes, it’s much smaller. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because of the weather or something, but it’s cool I guess.”

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