Student Scores


Contact Information

Course Logistics

Student Success

Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Astronomy (ASTR 1) depends on a student's preparation and participation as well as on the format of the course.

Course Materials

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:

Fall 2012 Course Schedule


Lesson Topic(s)


20-Aug : 24-Aug Fundamental concepts; Earth-Sun-Moon relationships 1
27-Aug : 31-Aug Gravitation and dynamics of the Solar System 2
5-Sep : 7-Sep Nature of light and telescopes 3
10-Sep : 14-Sep Blackbodies, spectra and the Doppler effect 4
17-Sep : 21-Sep Origin of the Solar System 5
24-Sep : 28-Sep Earth and its Moon 6
1-Oct : 5-Oct Inner planets: Mercury, Venus and Mars 7
8-Oct : 12-Oct Outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune 8
15-Oct : 19-Oct Dwarf planets, asteroids and comets 9
22-Oct : 26-Oct Structure and activity of the Sun 10
29-Oct : 2-Nov Stars: distances, brightnesses and spectra 11
5-Nov : 9-Nov Lives of stars: nebulae, clusters and variable stars 12
14-Nov : 16-Nov Deaths of stars: planetary nebulae, neutron stars and black holes 13 and 14
19-Nov : 21-Nov Milky Way 15
26-Nov : 30-Nov Galaxies and galactic clusters 16
3-Dec : 7-Dec Quasars and active galaxies 17
10-Dec : 14-Dec Cosmology and the history of the Universe 18
xx-Dec final exam, tba all


Grades will be based on total scores for:

There will be no alternate or "extra credit" assignments. For each writing assignment a student will read an article of their choice from a set of two selected for the class and write an outline and an abstract of that article. The final grade will be computed from the total of 250 points and scored as follows: > 90% = A; 80-89+% = B; 70-79+% = C; 60-69+% = D; and <60% = F. The instructor reserves the right to adjust these percentages if such an adjustment is warranted by the class score distribution, but under no circumstances will a student who earns a score of <60% or fails to turn in any element of the writing assignments receive a satisfactory (A, B, or C) grade.

A student should expect to spend about 6 hours per week reading, taking notes on the text, and studying for exams. Completion of the homework and writing assignments will also require about 12 hours over the course of the semester.

Attendance, Withdrawal, and Incomplete Policies

Regular participation and punctual submission of assignments are required for satisfactory completion of this course. Up to three absences will be excused if the student: (1) notifies the instructor by email or phone, (2) schedules a time to make up the missed work before the next class session he or she attends, and (3) makes up the work as scheduled. If a student incurs six unexcused absences he or she will be dropped from the class. A student may withdraw before 20-Nov-2012 without receiving a grade, and is responsible for notifying the admissions and records office and completing all necessary forms. Arrangements for an incomplete must be made with the instructor, and an "I" will be granted only in the case of an unforeseen personal or family emergency.

Learning Disabilities

If you have a disability (learning, physical, psychological etc.) that may require classroom or testing accommodations please let me know as soon as possible to ensure these accommodations are implemented in a timely manner. If you have not already done so, please contact Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS) in Eddy Hall, or call 938-5297, for authorization and coordination of disability verification and accommodation assistance.

Make-up Policy for Missed Work

Writing assignments, midterm exams, and daily clicker questions may be made-up if: (1) prior arrangements have been made with the instructor; and (2) they are completed before the next class period or before graded exercises are returned to the class (as appropriate). The final exam cannot be made up.

Late Assignment Policy

Writing assignments will be penalized 1 point for each class period they are late and will not be accepted after the graded assignments have been returned to the class.

Academic Integrity

Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another as they discuss assignments and prepare for exams. I expect that a student will work independently, however, when he or she takes exams, and writes his or her outlines and abstracts. If I find evidence that any students are not living up to this code of academic integrity (for example, because they submit identical or nearly identical writing assignments) I reserve the right to drop them from the class unless it is after the fourteenth week, in which case the students will receive F grades regardless of accumulated points.