Astronomy 161

Introduction to Solar System Astronomy

Autumn Quarter 2009

Mon Wed Fri 1:00-2:18 pm

Course Instructor: Prof. Krzysztof (Kris) Stanek

Office: 4003 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.

The Final Exam will be on Monday, December 7th, at 11:30 a.m. (the usuaul room).

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 section of Astronomy 161, but we cover much the same topics in our section)

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)

21st Century Astronomy (2nd Edition) website

(our textbook)


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, September 23, 2009: Introduction to Astronomy [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, September 25, 2009: 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, September 28, 2009: Seasons & Calendars [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, September 30, 2009: Moon Phases & Eclipses [PDF], [PPT]

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

Friday, October 2, 2009: From Ptolemy to Copernicus [PDF], [PPT]

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

Monday, October 5, 2009: Tycho, Kepler, & Galileo [PDF], [PPT]

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009: Newton's Laws [PDF], [PPT]

Feather and Ball Bearing Dropped in Vacuum
Feather & Hammer Drop on Moon

Friday, October 9, 2009: MIDTERM 1

Monday, October 12, 2009: Applying Newton's Laws [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009: Light [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, October 16, 2009: Spectra [PDF], [PPT]

Monday, October 19, 2009: Telescopes [PDF], [PPT]

Images from the LBT

Wednesday, October 21, 2009: Solar System Survey [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, October 23, 2009: Origin of the Solar System [PDF], [PPT]

Monday, October 26, 2009: Planets Around Other Stars [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009: The Earth [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, October 30, 2009: MIDTERM 2

Monday, November 2, 2009: Earth's Atmosphere [PDF], [PPT]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009: The Moon [PDF], [PPT]

Friday, November 6, 2009: Mercury & Venus [PDF], [PPT]

MESSENGER - mission to Mercury
Venus Express - now in orbit around Venus

Monday, November 9, 2009: Mars [PDF], [PPT]

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

Friday, November 13, 2009: Jupiter & Saturn [PDF], [PPT]

Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn & Titan

Monday, November 16, 2009: Moons of Jupiter & Saturn [PDF], [PPT]

The Jupiter Satellite Page (Provides the latest ``moon count'' for all the planets)

Monday, November 18, 2009: Uranus & Neptune [PPT]

Friday, November 20, 2009: MIDTERM #3

Monday, November 23, 2009: Pluto, Eris ... and Beyond [PPT]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009: Gamma-Ray Bursts [PPT]

Monday, November 30, 2009: Asteroids [PPT]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009: Comets [PPT]

Friday, December 4, 2009: Class Review [PPT]


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

Exam 1: Friday, October 9

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 1 score distribution: median=70%)

Exam 2: Friday, October 30

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 2 score distribution: median=76%)

Exam 3: Friday, November 20

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 3 score distribution: median=80%)

Final Exam: Monday, December 7, 11:30 am - 1:18 pm

(see the Final Exam study guide)
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Updated: Tue Nov 24 16:03:51 EST 2009