Astronomy 161

Introduction to Solar System Astronomy

Winter Quarter 2007

Mon Wed Fri 10:00-11:18am

Course Instructor: Prof. D. L. DePoy

Office: 4079 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.

Course Number: 02439-3

In-class Exams: January 19, February 9, and March 2

Final Exam: Tuesday, March 13, at 9:30 am

On-Line Information

Course Syllabus

Roof & Planetarium Nights

(On selected nights during the quarter, there will be a planetarium show in Smith Laboratory, followed by an opportunity to view the sky through a 12-inch aperture telescope.)

Links to Astronomy 161 Topics

(compiled by Professor Rick Pogge for his Autumn 2006 Astronomy 161 course, but we cover much the same topics)

Astronomy Picture of the Day

(highly recommended source of astronomical images, new one every day)

NASA Planetary Photojournal

(handy compilation of photos from NASA planetary missions)

Universe (7th edition) website

(contains self-quizzes, interactive exercises, animations, and videos)


For review purposes, I will be posting my PowerPoint slides for each lecture, in the PDF (Portable Document Format) format (and also the original .ppt format). For some lectures, I will also provide links to other useful sources of information.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007: Introduction to Astronomy [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, January 5, 2007: The Celestial Sphere [PDF], [PPT]

Daily Motion of Stars (QuickTime animation courtesy of Prof. Rick Pogge)
Annual Motion of Sun (QuickTime animation courtesy of Prof. Rick Pogge)

Monday, January 8, 2007: Seasons & Calendars [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007: Moon Phases & Eclipses [PDF], [PPT]

Lunation (movie of Moon Phases)
Lunar Eclipse (animation)
Moon Shadow (animation)

Friday, January 12, 2007: From Ptolemy to Copernicus [PDF], [PPT]

Retrograde motion of Venus (thanks to Deokkeun An and Subo Dong)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007: Tycho, Kepler, & Galileo [PDF], [PPT]

The Phases of Venus (movie)
Moons of Jupiter (movie)
Sunspots on the Rotating Sun (movie)

Friday, January 19, 2007: EXAM 1

Monday, January 22, 2007: Newton's Laws [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007: Exam #1 Review

Friday, January 26, 2007: Applying Newton's Laws [PDF], [PPT]

Monday, January 29, 2007: Light [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, January 31, 2007: Spectra [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, February 2, 2007: Telescopes [PDF], [PPT]

Images from the LBT

Monday, February 5, 2007: Solar System Survey [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, February 7, 2007: Origin of the Solar System [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, February 9, 2007: EXAM 2

Monday, February 12, 2007: The Earth [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007: NO CLASS DUE TO SNOW/COLD

Friday, February 16, 2007: Exam #2 Review

Monday, February 19, 2007: Earth's Atmosphere [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007: The Moon [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, February 23, 2007: Mercury [PDF], [PPT]

MESSENGER - mission to Mercury

Monday, February 26, 2007: Venus [PDF], [PPT]

Venus Express - now in orbit around Venus

Wednesay, February 28, 2007: Mars [PDF], [PPT]

Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Lastest news from Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars)

Friday, March 2, 2007: EXAM 3

Monday, March 5, 2007: Jupiter & Saturn [PDF], [PPT]

Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn & Titan
The Jupiter Satellite Page (Provides the latest ``moon count'' for all the planets)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Eris ... and Beyond [PDF], [PPT]

New Horizons - Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission

Friday, March 9, 2007: Asteroids & Comets [PDF], [PPT]


The course grade will be determined from the results of 3 in-class exams and the final exam. See the course syllabus for more details on exams and the makeup and grading policies.

Exam 1: Friday, Janauary 19

(see the study guide) (see the Exam 1 score distrbution: median=67%)

Exam 2: Friday, February 9

(see the study guide) (see the Exam 2 score distrbution: median=72%)

Exam 3: Friday, March 2

(see the study guide) (see the Exam 3 score distrbution: median=xx%)

Final Exam: Tuesday, March 13, 9:30 am - 11:18 pm

(see the Final Exam study guide)

(see the Final score distrbution: median=xx%)

Note: grades for the final exam can be picked up from the TA

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Updated: February 12 2007