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Astronomy 2292

The Milky Way

Stellar, Galactic, & Extragalactic Astronomy and Astrophysics
Spring Semester 2016

Prof. Scott Gaudi
MWF 12:40-1:35pm
1048 Smith Lab

[Overview | News | Info | Handouts | Evaluation | Problem Sets | Exams | Final | Grades | Topics & Readings | Links | Copyright ]


Astronomy 2292 is the second semester of a two-semester introductory sequence designed for Astronomy and Astrophysics majors and minors, as well as for scientifically literate undergraduates who wish to learn basic astrophysics from a quantitative perspective. The major topics to be covered are:
  1. Properties of Stars, including Stellar Atmospheres and Stellar Interiors
  2. The Interstellar Medium
  3. Galaxies: Ours and others, active and inactive
  4. Cosmology and the history of the Universe


The textbook for this course is Foundations of Astrophysics by Barbara Ryden and Bradley Peterson, available from the bookstore and many fine online booksellers. This textbook is required for all students. Selected readings are assigned weekly, and should be read before the week's class sessions.

Course News

2016 Jan 11

Welcome to Astronomy 2292!

Problem Set #1 Due Wednesday, February 3

Exam #1 Friday, February 5; Exam #1 Study Guide

Problem Set #2 Due Wednesday, March 2

Exam #2 Friday, March 4; Exam #2 Study Guide

Problem Set #3 Due Monday, April 4

Exam #3 Friday, April 8; Exam #3 Study Guide

My office hours on Monday 4/25 will be at 3pm, rather than the usual 4pm.

Final Tuesday, May 3; 12:00pm-1:45pm in 1048 Smith Lab Final Study Guide

Course Information


All handouts below are in standard PDF format, viewable on-screen or in printed form.
Class Syllabus
Table of Useful Physical Constants
Table of Useful Astronomical Constants
In-Class Exam Rules


Your final grade will be based on four components. Attendance and class participation (5%), three problem sets (5% each, for a total of 15%), three interim examinations (20% each, for a total of 60%), and the final exam (20%).

Problem Sets

There will be 3 problem sets for this class. They will be posted below when the are ready to be distributed, along with the due date. Together they will account for 15% of your grade. In general, late homework will not be accepted for credit except for prior approval from the professor.
Problem Set #1 - Due: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 in class.; Solutions
Problem Set #2 - Due: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in class.; Solutions
Problem Set #3 - Due: Monday, April 4, 2016 in class.; Solutions

In-Class Exams

There are 3 in-class, closed-book, closed-notes examinations at roughly monthly intervals as follows:
Exam 1: Friday, February 5, 2016 Exam #1 Study Guide
Exam 2: Friday, March 4, 2016 Exam #2 Study Guide
Exam 3: Friday, April 8, 2016 Exam #3 Study Guide

Each exam is worth 20% for a total of 60% of your final course grade. See the Syllabus for details on the grading and make-up exam policy. See the In-Class Exam Rules for how we will conduct the in-class exams.

Final Exam

The Final Examination will be Tuesday, May 3 from 12:00-1:45pm in 1048 Smith Lab The final exam will be comprehensive, covering all lectures and assigned readings. It will be in the same format as the in-class exams, but longer and cover the entire semester. The final will be worth 20% of your course grade.

Attendance for the Final Exam is mandatory, and no makeup final will be offered. If you should miss the final exam, you will receive a failing grade unless you contact the professor by 5pm on Friday, December 18 and arrange for a make-up exam at the start of Spring Semester. In the interim you will automatically receive a grade of incomplete (I) until the interim exam is graded.

In keeping with University policy, no early "senior" final exams are given: graduating seniors must take the final exam with the rest of the class.

Grades and Carmen

I will occasionally be using Carmen to send emails or provide supplemental files (notes, handouts, Powerpoint slides, etc.).

I will not be using Carmen for grading. If you would like your current grade at some point during the semester, please contact me or the TA. Because of the many privacy safeguards mandated by federal law under FERPA, I can only respond to email queries regarding your grades or status if you use your official OSU address. This is the only way I can be sure that the recipient of the email is the person registered in the class. Final grades will be posted to the Registrar's system as soon as they are tabulated.

Topics, Readings, and Extras

Readings refer to chapters in Foundations of Astrophysics. Note that we will not follow the book strictly. In particular, we may change the order of the topics and skip some topics entirely. I may also supplement material in the book with additional notes or handouts. Do not be alarmed.

Jan 11, 13, 15, 20, 22: Properties of Stars
Reading: Chapter 13

Jan 25, 27: Stellar Atmospheres
Reading: Chapter 14

Jan 29; Feb 1, 3, 8: Stellar Interiors
Reading: Chapter 15
Feb 10, 12, 15 : The Interstellar Medium
Reading: Chapter 16
Feb 17, 19, 22: Formation and Evolution of Stars
Reading: Chapter 17
Feb 24, 26, 29 : Stellar Remnants
Reading: Chapter 18
Mar 2; Mar 7, 9 :Our Galaxy
Reading: Chapter 19
Mar 11, 21, 23 : Galaxies
Reading: Chapter 20
Mar 25, 28, 30: Active Galaxies
Reading: Chapter 21
Apr 1, 4, 6: Clusters
Reading: Chapter 22
Apr 11, 13, 15 : Cosmology
Reading: Chapter 23
April 18, 20, 22 : History of the Universe
Reading: Chapter 24
April 25: Review
Reading: Chapters 13-24

Some Astronomy Sites of Interest:

Astronomy Picture of the Day
Latest results from the Hubble Space Telescope
Pictures from the Chandra X-ray Observatory
Pictures from the Spitzer Space Telescope
This Week's Sky at a Glance (Courtesy of Sky & Telescope Magazine)
Universe Sandbox: a physics-based space simulator

Copyright Statement

All of the written materials provided in these web pages are copyrighted by the course instructor, except as noted. In addition, some images and animations are also copyrighted by the instructor, while others are copyrighted by the original sources. These latter appear with the written permission of the copyright holders. Please read the Copyright Statement before you make copies of any of these web pages for any purpose. Use of these notes implies that you have read and understood the copyright statement.
Updated: 2016 Jan 25
Copyright © Bernard Scott Gaudi. All Rights Reserved.