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Santa Monica College|Academic Programs|Earth Science|Astronomy Program

Astronomy Program


Astronomers study the solar system, stars, galaxies, and space using principles of physics and mathematics.  Their work adds to the basic scientific knowledge about the nature of the Universe.  Astronomers study planets, stars, novas, and colliding gases between stars in an attempt to determine how they were formed, what they are made of, and how they change.  This field of science also leads to a better understanding of the Earth and its ecosystem.


Currently there are no degrees or certificates offered in this discipline.  Transfer students in the major who wish to qualify for an Associates degree should select either the Liberal Arts or General Science major.  Additional graduation requirements for the Associates degree from Santa Monica College are listed in the Academics section of the catalog as well as online. (

CAREER OPTIONS (This list is not comprehensive.)


Observatory Night Assistant/Telescope Operator

Director of an Observatory     

Research Scientist

Director of a Planetarium    

Aerospace Engineer

Curator of a Museum     

Solar Researcher

Satellite Communications/Reconnaissance

Space Program Engineer     

Public Outreach

State Park Ranger     

Environmental/Atmospheric Scientist

Space Program Computer Programmer

Simon Balm          310-434-8651
Gary Fouts           310-434-4796
Michael Schwartz  310-434-8924
Ahmed Salama
Kevin Grazier
Douglas Equils


Upon completion of an Astronomy Courses:

1. Students will be able to explain key principles of astronomy using applicable vocabulary; including employing the scientific method to organize, prioritize, and problem solve.
2. Students will explain how and where the human species fits into the immense, complex and ever-changing universe.

COURSES OFFERED IN ASTRONOMY  All classes meet IGETC and GE transfer requirements.  Courses are not sequential; there are no prerequisites.

Astronomy 1: Stellar Astronomy
Astronomy 2: Solar System Astronomy
Astronomy 3: Stellar Astronomy with a Lab
Astronomy 4: Solar System Astronomy with a Lab
Astronomy 5: Life in the Universe 


SMC Planetarium: