Introduction to Solar System Astronomy
Autumn Quarter 2009
MWF 1:00pm - 2:18pm
Prof. Krzysztof Stanek
- Office: 4003 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.
- Office Hours: MWF 2:30 - 4:00 pm, or by appointment
- Phone: 292-3433
- TA: Karen Mogren
- Office: 4029 McPherson Lab, 140 W. 18th Ave.
- Office Hours: Tue 4:30 - 6:00 pm, Thu 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm, or by appointment
- Phone: 292-6893
- Required Text:
21st Century Astronomy (second edition),
- by Jeff
Hester, David Burstein, George Blumenthal, Ronald Greeley, Bradford
Smith, Howard Voss (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 2007)
Exams & Grading
There will be three in-class midterms and a final exam.
In-class midterms will cover the material in the lectures and readings since
the previous midterm; the final examination will be comprehensive. The
in-class midterms have been scheduled for the three days listed below.
Please mark your calendars with these dates. All exams
will be closed-book, closed-notes, multiple-choice tests.
The midterm exams will each contribute 20% of your
course grade (for a total of 60%); the final exam will contribute
Makeup midterms will be given only under extraordinary circumstances,
such as severe illness or a death in the immediate family. If you know
in advance that you will be missing a midterm, please contact the
professor to arrange an alternate time for you to take the midterm.
The final must be taken by all students. If you miss the final, you will
automatically receive a grade of incomplete (I) that will have to be made
up by a written exam during winter quarter.
The final examination is scheduled for Monday, December 7,
from 11:30am until 1:18pm in SH 0100 (the same room as
lectures). The final will be comprehensive, covering all lectures and
assigned readings, and of the same format as the in-class midterms
(only longer). It is worth 40% of the final grade. No makeup
final will be offered.
Lecture & Reading Schedule (will be extended as the year progresses)
- Week 1:
- Wednesday, Sept 23: Introduction (Chapter 1)
- Friday, Sept 25: Celestial Sphere (Sections 2-1 through 2-2)
- Week 2:
- Monday, Sept 28: Seasons & Calendars (Section 2-3)
- Wednesday, Sept 30: Moon Phases & Eclipses (Sections 2-4 through 2-5)
- Friday, Oct 2: Ptolemy to Copernicus (Class Notes)
- Week 3:
- Monday, Oct 5: Tycho, Kepler, & Galileo (Sections 3-1 through 3-2)
- Wednesday, Oct 7: Newton's Laws (Section 3-3)
- Friday, Oct 9: MIDTERM EXAM #1
- Week 4:
- Monday, Oct 12: Applying Newton's Laws (Sections 3-4 through 3-5)
- Wednesday, Oct 14: Light (Sections 4-1 through 4-3)
- Friday, Oct 16: Spectra (Sections 4-4 through 4-6)
- Week 5:
- Monday, Oct 19: Telescopes (Chapter 5)
- Wednesday, Oct 21: Solar System Survey (Class notes)
- Friday, Oct 23: Origin of the Solar System (Chapter 6)
- Week 6:
- Monday, Oct 26: Planets Around Other Stars (Section 6-6)
- Wednesday, Oct 28: The Earth (Chapter 7)
- Friday, Oct 30: MIDTERM EXAM #2
- Week 7:
- Monday, Nov 2: Earth's Atmosphere (Section 8-1 through 8-3)
- Wednesday, Nov 4: The Moon (Class notes; Chapter 7)
- Friday, Nov 6: Mercury & Venus (Class notes; Chapter 7, 8)
- Week 8:
- Monday, Nov 5: Mars (Class Notes; Chapter 7, 8)
- Wednesday, Nov 7: NO CLASS
- Friday, Nov 9: Jupiter & Saturn (Class Notes; Chapter 9)
- Midterm 1: Friday, October 9, in class
- Midterm 2: Friday, October 30, in class
- Midterm 3: Friday, November 20, in class
- Final Exam: Monday, December 7, 11:30am - 1:18pm,
Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based on
the impact of a disability should contact the Professor to discuss their
specific needs. We will work with the Office of Disability Services
to develop the appropriate strategies. Students with disabilities who
have not previously contacted ODS are encouraged to do so in advance by
visiting the ODS website and
requesting an appointment.
All OSU instructors are required to report suspected cases of academic
misconduct to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. See the
University's Code of Student
Conduct for details. The most common forms of misconduct in classes
like this are copying from another student's exam or homework assignment.
All cases will be investigated following University guidelines.
To help establish and maintain a courteous, distraction-free learning
environment in our classroom, I ask that all students please observe the
following rules of behavior during lectures and exams:
A little courtesy and common sense can go a long way. Thank you for
- Use of cell phones and pagers is prohibited.
- This includes using cell phones for instant messaging, email, web,
pictures, etc. When in class, all cell phones and pagers must be
turned off (do not simply put them into stand-by "silent ring" modes).
- Use of Wireless Laptops or other networked devices is
- Surfing the web, instant messaging, reading email or typing on a
keyboard during class is extremely distracting to those around you.
When in class, all laptop computers and other networked devices
(especially devices like PDAs and Blackberries that can be used for
2-way communications, email, IM, etc.) must be turned off and put away.
Exceptions will be made for assistive technologies for the vision- or
hearing-impaired in consultation with the professor.
- Please do not start packing up until class is completely
- Nothing is more rude or distracting than the noise of
notebooks closing and jackets and backpacks rustling while the
professor is trying to finish up. I'll be clear when we're done, so
please wait until I get to the end.
- If you come late or have to leave early, please sit near the back
of the room.
- This will make your late arrival or early departure less disruptive
for your fellow students.
- No conversing during lectures.
- A curious feature of a round room like Stillman 100 is that the
sounds of a conversation at the back of the room get reflected around
and are audible to the professor and most of the front row. Please
respect the wishes of your fellow students to listen to the lecture, and
do not carry on conversations during class.
Astronomy 161 is a General Education Curriculum (GEC) Physical Science
course in the Natural Science category. The goals for this course
- Understanding the basic principles and central facts of astrophysics,
and their relation to other ideas in the physical and biological
- Understanding how we discovered the important principles and facts
of astrophysics, thus understanding key events in the history of science
both as events in human history and as case studies in the methods of
- Investigating the relationship between science and technology,
- Understanding the social and philosophical implications of
major scientific discoveries.
In Astronomy 161, the specific learning objectives to achieve these
course goals are:
- To investigate the basic facts, principles, theories, and methods of
modern science as practiced in astrophysics.
- To learn the basic observable phenomena of astronomy, and how these have
had both practical applications (time keeping and calendars), and played
a key role in advancing our understanding of the Universe.
- To learn important events in the history of astrophysics,
particularly the development of our understanding of the nature of the
Solar System and the discovery of the physical laws that govern its
motions, formation history, and evolution.
- To explain the role of modern technology in the investigation of
astrophysical phenomena, and the crucial role played by technological
advances in extending our knowledge of the Universe.
- To explore how discoveries in astrophysics have implications for how
we have come to view our place in the Universe, and by comparing the
Earth to other planets in our Solar System provide a physical framework
for understanding the possible impacts of our activities on the Earth.
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Prof. Kris Stanek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Updated: Wed Sep 23 17:16:50 EDT 2009