A) Discuss the physical and orbital characteristics of comets and compare/contrast them with those of asteroids. Discuss meteors and meteor showers and explain how they are related to the comets. Discuss how comets change within a given orbit and over long periods of time. Discuss the origin of short and longperiod comets, and the nature and probable origin of the Kuiper Disk and Oort Cloud.
B) Discuss the ways in which stars of various masses age and die, starting with low-mass stars which never make it to the Main Sequence, and ending with massive stars which blow themselves to bits in supernova explosions. Discuss the structures and characteristics of white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Explain why these dead stars are usually difficult to observe and describe how they can (sometimes) be observed.
C) Describe the structure of the Universe, and how we know that it is expanding. Describe the Open and
Closed Big Bang theories of the Universe, and the Inflationary model, and the differences between them. Discuss the current version of the Big Bang theory, and its implications for the future of the Universe. Discuss the theory of “dark” matter as it relates to the structure of the Universe.
D) Describe and discuss Black Holes. First, discuss how a Black Hole forms. What are they? Describe their physical characteristics. How they would they would be observed? Where do they fit into the process of stellar evolution? How are they involved in understanding active galaxies? What are the most likely candidates for our having observed them?
E) The trial of Galileo is an important event in the history of science. We now know, and the Church now
recognizes, that Galileo’s view was correct, but what were the arguments on both sides of the issue as it was unfolding? Research the Internet for documents chronicling the trial, Galileo’s observations and
publication, and the position of the Church.