About the Course

Introduction to Astronomy

  • Grades 7-11
  • CTY-Level

In the 17th century, Galileo looked into the sky with a simple pair of lenses and saw the moons of Jupiter. Modern times have had similarly profound discoveries. This course investigates light, optics, and other areas of physics used in the study of modern astronomy. We’ll tour the universe, learning about planets and their physical, chemical, and geological properties; the mathematics of orbiting bodies; and how to use visual and calculated stellar brightness scales to calculate distances to stars. By plotting sunspots and distinguishing solar types based on color, temperature, and luminosity, we’ll investigate the lifecycle of the sun and other stars; learn about the evolution of galaxies; use data from drifting galaxies to approximate the Hubble Constant; and discuss exotic objects like quasars and black holes.

Note: Students should have a strong background in pre-algebra. Completion of Algebra I is recommended, though not required.

Typical Class Size: 18-20

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level CTY-Level Not required
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

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Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

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Course Materials

Please acquire all course materials by the course start date. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact ctyinfo@jhu.edu.

Course Extras (Lab fee info, etc): Lab and field trip fee: $135

Sample Reading

These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.

  • The Essential Cosmic Perspective, Jeffrey O. Bennett, Megan O. Donahue, Nicholas Schneider, Mark Voit

About Science and Engineering at CTY

Explore space and our planet

In our Introduction to Astronomy course, we’ll visit a nearby observatory or planetarium, see what the cosmos looks like through various spectra, and immerse ourselves in the science and technology that bring the universe closer to home. In Marine Ecology, we’ll visit local wetlands and tidepools, observe flora and fauna, collect water samples and analyze them for clues about their health and humans’ impact. And in The Global Environment, we will explore the human impact on our environment and generate proposals for addressing climate change.

Bond over chemistry

Our chemistry courses help you see the world differently, starting at the atomic level. The Edible World gives budding chefs and science lovers a glimpse into the chemical reactions that happen when we make food, and the chemical makeup of meals and treats we eat every day. In our Crystals and Polymers course, we’ll synthesize slime, grow rock candy, and isolate strawberry DNA to learn about the molecular structure of naturally occurring gems and human-produced plastics. In Chemistry in Society, we’ll consider how the chemicals in products can both enhance and degrade the world around us; produce biodiesel in a lab to understand alternative fuels; and prepare aspirin to learn about the healing and toxic properties of pharmaceuticals.

Meet our instructors and staff