Study Abroad


Astronomy of the Southern Skies

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This course is closed for the Winter 2013-14 term.

UMAIE Course Number: T4202
SAU Course Equivalency: ASTR 201 - Astronomy (four credits)
Instructor: Professor Terrence Flower, St. Catherine University
Dates: January 2-23, 2014. (NOTE: SAU classes begin January 15)
Location: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea
Price: $7,750 (subject to change)

Program Description

The heavens provide the starting place for understanding ourselves. The earliest of recorded history shows mankind looking upward and trying to learn exactly what is their place in the cosmos. Modern astronomy applies everything we know from all of the sciences to understand this cosmic perspective. This course explores the cosmic landscape with a focus on the South Pacific. We'll begin our journey by investigating the cycles of the sky, which operated millennia ago and still maintain that rhythm today. As we look at the history of astronomy and its growth from an art to a quantitative science we will see around us the echoes of tikis, canoes, and Polynesians who made contributions without the fundamentals of the Phoenician number system. Building on the foundations of astronomy we transition to astronomy as a quantitative science and begin to explore our universe.

As cosmic explorers we will have unique perspectives of the Sun, the Moon and the planets from the southern hemisphere. But this solar system is a small part of the larger domain we call the Milky Way. Made up of hundreds of billions of stars we extend our studies by investigating stellar structure and evolution. We will be able to see phenomena in the southern hemisphere - the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (companion galaxies to our Milky Way), Crux - the Southern Cross, the Jewel Box, the Coal Sack and other objects that confirm our knowledge of the nature of these heavens.

Finally we look at galaxies and the universe, its structure and evolution, and venture into the possibilities of multiverses. Just how did it begin and what is our place in it? When we've reached this point we will see that we are back where we started and recognize that we've only just begun. What the ancient Polynesian voyagers saw, what we see today, will help us reach out and touch the face of God.

Using our own telescope, I will show you things you have not dreamed of. We will see the Southern Cross from the beach, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds with our naked eyes and experience astronomy in a way totally different than ever before. Forevermore the night sky will be different, and it will be your friend forever.

What is Included

  • Round-trip airfare from Moline, Chicago or Minneapolis 
  • Accomodation in hotels
  • Continental Breakfast daily
  • Some lunches and dinners (subject to change) 
  • Field trips and entrance fees
  • Travel assistance
  • International health insurance

What is not included

  • Passport fees
  • Transportation to/from airport
  • Fees for textbooks and materials
  • Meals en route and on field trips
  • Personal baggage fees


How to Apply

Priority Deadline: April 12, 2013
Complete the online study abroad application and submit a $500 application deposit to the Center for International Education (Lower Cosgrove).

Applications will be accepted until October 1.
Students that apply after the April 12 Priority Deadline may find that their desired program is full.

  • Follow the application instructions carefully.
  • Applications will not be reviewed until all application materials have been received.
  • Make checks payable to Seminars International.
  • The $500 application deposit is deducted from the total program cost.
  • If you are not accepted into the program, or if the program is cancelled, the application deposit is refundable.
  • If you are accepted, the application deposit is non-refundable after September 17.

Payment Deadline

  • November 1, 2013: remaining balance due

Payment Details

  • Failure to meet payment deadlines may jeopardize your place in the program.
  • Please submit your final payment to Student Account Services by November 1.
  • The final payment is non-refundable after November 1.