Astronomy 110: Introduction to Astronomy
T/Th 8:55 to 10:10, (Biology Annex 102)
Instructor: Tom Harrison
Office: Astronomy Building, room 103
Office hours: 10 am to 11 am MTuWTh., or by appt.
TAs: Sean Markert (email@example.com), Jacob Vandervliet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Text: "The Cosmic Perspective", 5th or 6th Edition, Authors: Bennett, Donahue, Schneider & Voit (OPTIONAL!)
Objectives: To learn about the Universe, including the planets in our solar system, the types of stars in our Milky Way galaxy, the nature and structure of galaxies, and the origin and history of the Universe. We will discuss the beginnings of astronomy, including the origins and meanings of constellations, as well as the modern history of the science of astronomy. Along the way we will meet the people who contributed to our current understanding of the nature of the Universe.
Attendance: Due to the fast pace of this class, and the large amount of material covered, attendance is required. If you are unable to attend because of illness or a family emergency, please contact the instructor (phone or email) before class so that allowances can be made for missed quizzes or homework assignments. If the absence is unexcused, no make-up work will be given. If a student has five or more unexcused absences, an automatic withdraw form will be issued. Note that the last date for withdrawing from class (to receive a "W") is October 16th. The date for the final exam is Thursday, December 13th, 8am to 10am.
Mid-term exam: 15%
Final exam: 15%
Laboratory work: 25%
Unannounced quizzes: 15%
Homework exercises: 30%
In order to receive a grade of "S", the student must have a minimum of a "C" grade. Grade scale will be the normal one: 90 and Above = "A", 80 to 90 = "B", 70 to 80 = "C", 60 to 70 = "D", below 60 = "F". Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
Late/Make-up Assignment policy: Late homework assignments will not be accepted without prior arrangement with the instructor. Make-up quizzes and exams will be arranged for excused absences only.
Lab Class: Note that Astronomy 110 also has a weekly laboratory session associated with the lecture section to help fortify your classroom experience, as well as to give you hands-on experience in some of the techniques of modern astronomy. There are three specific lab sections that are directly associated with this lecture class, they are Astronomy 110 M01, M02, and M03. You MUST register for and attend one of these sections!
Program Evaluation: Students will be asked to participate in a course evaluation at the end of the semester.
What is General Education Core Curriculum?
This course has been certified as one in New Mexico State University's General Education Core Curriculum (GECC). The GECC attempts to foster intelligent inquiry, abstract logical thinking, critical analysis, and the integration and synthesis of knowledge; it strives for literacy in writing, reading, speaking and listening; it teaches mathematical structures; acquainting students with precise abstract thought about numbers and space; it encourages an understanding of science and scientific inquiry; it provides a historical consciousness, including an understanding of one's own heritage as well as respect for other peoples and cultures; it includes an examination of values and stresses the importance of a carefully considered values system; it fosters an appreciation of the arts; and general education provides the breadth necessary to have a familiarity with the various branches of human understanding.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cover issues relating to disability and accommodations. If a student has questions or needs an accommodation in the classroom (all medical information is treated confidentially), contact: Trudy Luken, Student Accessibility Services (SAS), Corbett Center, Rm. 244, Phone: 646-6840, E-mail: email@example.com
NMSU policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, retaliation, serious medical condition, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation and protected veterans status. Furthermore, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination to include sexual misconduct, sexual violence, sexual harassment and retaliation. For more information on discrimination issues, Title IX or NMSU's complaint process contact: Gerard Nevarez or Agustin Diaz, Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) - O'Loughlin House, Phone: 646-3635, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.nmsu.edu/~eeo/
(The instructor reserves the right to alter this schedule as he sees fit!)
Note that the order of the labs that we do is NOT the order they appear in the lab manual. While we follow the general order of the manual, there are more labs in the manual than lab classes (different instructors like different labs). Use the titles quoted below and find THAT lab in the manual for the appropriate week.
August 23: Course overview and introduction. The sizes of things, scientific notation (Ch 1). The origin of Astronomy: "Skywatching" (Ch. 3). Lab: labs begin next week!
August 28: The motion of the Sun and Moon: Days, Months and Years (Ch. 2).
August 30: The motions of planets: the Geocentric (Ptolemaic) System (Ch. 2).------------- Week #2, No Lab this Week!!! (Labor day holiday)
September 4: Phases of the Moon, and Lunar and Solar Eclipses (Ch. 2).
September 6: Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo: Understanding planetary motion (Ch 5.)------------- Week #3, Lab #2: "The Origin of the Seasons"
September 11: Terrestrial planets: the Earth (Ch 9).
September 13: Terrestrial planets: the Earth and Moon (Ch 9 and Ch 5)------------- Week #4, Lab #3: "The Orbit of Mercury"
September 18: Terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, and Mars (Ch. 10, and 11).
September 20: Jovian Planets and their moons: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (Ch. 12)------------- Week #5, Lab #4: "Introduction to the Geology of the Terrestrial Planets"
September 25: Remnants of Rock and Ice: Pluto, Asteroids, and Comets (Chap. 12)
September 27: The Formation of the Solar System (Chap. 8)------------- Week #6, Lab #5: "Shaping Surfaces in the Solar System: The Impacts of Comets and Asteroids"
October 2: Atomic structure, and processes, the nature of light (Ch. 6.)
October 4: The Sun-the nearest star (Ch. 15)------------- Week #7, Lab #6: "The Sun" (yes, you have lab this week)
October 9: Mid-term Exam Review
October 11: Mid-term exam
Note that October 16th is the last date to withdraw from a class and receive a "W".
October 16: Atomic structure and nuclear fusion: how a star shines; and Parallax.
October 18: Properties of stars: radii, masses, temperatures, the HR diagram (Ch. 16).------------- Week #9, Lab #8: "Measuring Distances Using Parallax"
October 23: The lives of Stars and more on the HR diagram (Ch. 16).
October 25: The lives of high mass stars: "stellar evolution" (Ch. 17)------------- Week #10, Lab #9: "The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram"
October 30: Stellar Endproducts, Stellar groups: clusters of stars, star formation regions (Ch. 17 and 18) "
November 1: The Milky Way: The local distance scale, and the size and shape of the Milky Way (Ch. 18 and 19).------------- Week #11, Lab #10: "Optics"
November 6: The cosmic distance scale, and the understanding of the "spiral nebulae" (Ch. 19). Types of Galaxies
November 8: The nature, history and formation of galaxies (Ch. 20 and 21)------------- Week #12, Lab #11: "Galaxy Morphology"
November 13: Clusters of galaxies, and other large scale structure (Ch. 21).
November 15: The expanding Universe. (Ch. 22)------------ Week #13, No Class (Thanksgiving) ------------ Week #14, Lab #12 "How Many Galaxies Are There in the Universe?"
November 27: The Big Bang model, and the origin of the Universe (Ch. 22).
November 29: The Big Bang model continued... and what all this means for the future of the Universe------------ Week #15, No Labs this week!
December 4: The search for life in the Universe: In and beyond the solar system (Ch. 24)
December 6: Exam review, course evaluation------------ Week #16, Exam week
December 13: Final exam.