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Astronomy 1001
Section 3
Astronomy 1001: Exploring the Universe
Section 3, Fall semester 2016
Prof. Roberta M. Humphreys, McNamara Suite 160, Office 146-1, tel. 624-6530
Lectures: 2:30 – 3:45 am Mon., Wed. West Bank Skyway 20.
Office hours: by appointment
-- I will usually be in class at least 5 minutes before lecture and can stay afterwards for
several minutes. These are good times to take care of most questions.
For routine questions about course material and labs, please ask a TA first (see below).
Warning: Don’t rely on e-mail for important or urgent
questions. The inflow rate has become far too large.
TA office hours, Hours will be posted on the doors outside lab rooms.
Textbook: Recommended Book – Discovering the Essential Universe by Neil Comins.
Any recently published introductory astronomy text however will be satisfactory. I recommend
used and paperback copies for the best price.
Note that exams are based on my lectures. So attend class and take notes. The textbook is
useful for studying and review.
Web page for Ast 1001
Book for the lab exercises: Astronomy 1001/1011H Laboratory Manual 2016-17, a local
production available in the university bookstore.
Concerning the lab part of this course:
1. Labs are quite separate from the lectures.
2. Get a copy of the Astronomy 1001-1011H Laboratory Manual 2016-17, at the
university bookstore. Since this book is a local production, other stores won’t have it.
3. Important: Part of the lab course is an “observational project” concerning the Moon.
Read about it and start observing the Moon as soon as possible! If you fall behind
in this project, there honestly is no way to catch up.
(Note that the Moon is FULL on Sept 17 and will be visible in the east at sunset. )
4. A schedule for lab activities is appended to this syllabus.
Grading: Officially we use the following recipe for final scores and grades.
First mid-semester exam …
Second exam …
Final exam …
12 labs …
Observational project …
160 pts.16%
160 16 %
300 30 %
240 24 %
140 14 %
However, in effect the exams are even more important than these score-numbers indicate, for
a statistical reason that will be mentioned in class.
Grading will be based on a “modified curve”. Anyone earning 90% or better will earn an A- or
higher. 50% is required to pass (D or better) and 60% for a C- or better. If you’re taking the
course S/N, then a grade of ‘S’ will mean “C- or better (60%).
Note: Furthermore, to get a passing grade you must earn 50% of the lab points (120/240)
and 50% of the Obs. project points (70/140) and take all 3 exams.
Exam dates: Dates for the two mid-semester exams have not been finalized yet but they
will most likely be Oct 19 but could be the week after, when I have finished the solar system
and the week of Nov 21, when I have finished lecturing on stars. The correct dates will be
announced in class at least a week in advance. In each case the rooms used for the exam
will be announced in class.
The final will be given ; Mon. Dec 19, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, room TBD
Academic standards: The CLA and CSE scholastic conduct and classroom procedures will
be followed. You are responsible for knowing these, see the university website. Students
are welcome to work together, exchange ideas, etc. But for the Observational Project you
must do your own measurements and calculations.
Exam procedures: Room assignments for the exams will be announced beforehand in
class, Bring two pencils and a photo ID to each exam! Exams may include multiple-choice,
short- answer, and essay questions. If you miss an exam, see the professor.
All makeups are given on the same day. Date, time and place to be determined. Exam
scores will be posted by your course and ID# on the web. If you feel there’s a mistake on
the multiple-choice part of an exam, please see the secretary in the astronomy department
office, Fraser 345. Questions about essay questions should be directed to the professor.
Environmental theme: This course satisfies the “environmental theme” specified on the
university website. It introduces students to a wide range of topics, including physical
principles and not just astronomy. One goal is to show the Earth in a broad context with a
unique perspective on our home planet and its environment in the universe. In this course
we’ll see how science views and interprets the physical world around us.
Ast 1001 Section 1 Professor Humphreys
Outline of Lectures
powerpoints will be posted at
Sept 12,14
Historical Perspective
Sept 19,21
Appearance of the Night Sky, Motions of
the Earth and Moon
Sept 26,28
Ch 1
Ch. 2
Ch.1, 2
Light, optics and telescopes
Ch. 3 pg 50-78
Formation of Solar System, Extrasolar planets Ch.4, 5
Friday Sept 23 5pm Moon Obs. Due (3 obs
Oct 3,5
Oct 10,12
Oct 17, 19
Terrestrial planets
Jovian Planets and their satellites
Minor and dwarf planets, comets, meteors
Role of Impacts.
First Exam Oct 19 ??
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 8
Friday Oct 21 5pm Moon Obs. Due (6 new, 9 total)
Oct 24,26
Oct 31, Nov 2
Nov 7,9
Nov 14,16
The atom and spectroscopy
The Sun as a Star
Ch. 3, pg 79-92
Ch. 9
Properties of the stars
Ch. 10
Star formation, Stellar Evolution
Ch. 11
Star Death - white dwarfs, supernovae,
neutron stars, black holes
Ch. 12
Second exam week of Nov 21
Nov 21,23
Second Exam ?, Milky Way
Ch. 13
Wed. Nov 23 Moon Project 15 obs. + Final Report due 5 pm
Nov 28, 30
Dec 5,7
Dec 12, 14
Normal Galaxies
Galaxies and the distance – redshift relation
Origin, evolution, and fate of the Universe
Life in the Universe
Ch. 13
Ch. 13
Ch 14
Ch. 15
FINAL EXAM Sect 3 Mon Dec 19, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, room TBD
Lab Schedule for Ast 1001 Fall 2015 :
Week 1 – Sept 6-9
No Labs
Week 2 – Sept 12-16
Lab A
Observing the Moon
Week 3 – Sept 19-23
Lab B
Astronomical Distances
(Sept 23 Moon Project part 1 due)
Week 4 – Sept 26-30
Lab C
Kepler's Laws
Week 5 – Oct 3-7
Lab D
Week 6 – Oct 10-14
Lab E
Impacts from Space
Week 7 – Oct 17-21
Lab F
Extraterrestrial Life
(Oct 21 Moon Project part 2 due)
Week 8 – Oct 24-28
Lab G
Energy Flows
Week 9 – Oct 31Nov4
Lab H
Atomic Spectroscopy
Week 10 – Nov 7-11
Lab I
Week 11 – Nov 14-18
Lab J
History of Matter
Week 12 – Nov 21-25
No Labs
(Nov 23 Final Moon Project Due)
Week 13– Nov 28Dec 2
Lab K
Expansion of the Universe
Week 14 – Dec 5-9
Lab L
Dark Matter
Week 15 – Dec 12
No Labs
Astronomy -- the study of the stars
The Sun and solar system
The Stars -- their birth and death
Galaxies and the Universe
In Astronomy we are concerned with origins and endings --Your concepts of space and time will be altered.
Time = Ages
Earth, Sun and Solar System --- 4.5 x 109 yrs
--- 10 x 109 yrs
Age of Galaxy (oldest stars) --- ~ 12 x 109 yrs
Solar Lifetime
Age of Universe (expansion age) --- ~ 13 x 109 yrs
Space = Distances
Earth – Moon --- 284,400 km ( 240,000 mi)
Earth – Sun
--- 150 x 106 km ( 93 million miles)
Solar System (to Pluto) --- 5.9 x 109 km (3.7 billion miles)
Nearest Star --- 4.3 light years ( ~ 41 x 1012 km )
Center of Galaxy --- 27,000 light years ( 256 x 1015 km)
Andromeda Galaxy --- 2.3 x 106 light yrs ( 22 x 1018 km )