Astronomy 1140

Planets and the Solar System

Spring Semester 2017

Tuesday, Thursday 12:45-2:05 pm

Smith Lab 1009

Course Instructor: Prof. Krzysztof (Kris) Stanek

Office: 4023 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.

The Final Exam will be on Thursday, 2017 April 27, 2:00 pm-3:45 pm in Smith Lab 1009 (the usual room).

On-Line Information

Course Syllabus

Textbook: starting in 2017, we have adopted a new, online-only, free textbook as a recommended (not required) text for our class:

Astronomy (PDF format)

- this is OpenStax initiative.

The Ohio State Planetarium

It might be quite useful to sign up for a OSU Planetarium show.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Highly recommended source of astronomical images and information, new one every day.

NASA Planetary Photojournal

(handy compilation of photos from NASA planetary missions)


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

Week 1:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017: Course Introduction; Units and Scales [PDF]

Astro-Physical Calculator

For your reading pleasure: What's So Special About Science (And How Much Should We Spend on It?)

Thursday, January 12, 2017: Mapping the Earth and Sky and the Motions of the Sky [PDF]

Daily (Diurnal) Motions of Stars on the Equator

Circumpolar Stars from Columbus, Ohio

Proper Motion of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper)

Digital Movie Gallery by Prof. Pogge, with other useful animations

The Scale of the Universe (interactive)

Week 2:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017: The Motion of the Sun; Telling Time [PDF]

Stellarium: free open source planetarium for your computer.

The Sun's Path along the Ecliptic through the Zodiac

Thursday, January 19, 2017: The Motion of the Moon; The Calendar [PDF]

Lunation (movie of Moon Phases)

Week 3:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017: The Four Seasons; Eclipses [PDF]

Lunar Eclipse (animation)

Moon Shadow (animation)

2024 April 8 Total Solar Eclipse (animation)

Thursday, January 26, 2017: Wandering Planets; Greek Astronomy [PDF]

Retrograde motion of Venus

Week 4:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Copernicus; Tycho, Kepler [PDF]

Ptolemaic & Copernican Solar System

Thursday, February 2, 2017: Galileo [PDF]

The Phases of Venus
Moons of Jupiter
Sunspots on the Rotating Sun
Feather and Ball Bearing Dropped in Vacuum
Feather & Hammer Drop on Moon

Week 5:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017: Midterm #1 (see the study guide)

Thursday, February 9, 2017: Newton; Newtonian Gravity [PDF]

Week 6:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017: Orbits; Tides; Energy [PDF]

Thursday, February 16, 2017: Light [PDF]

Week 7:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017: Temperature; Matter [PDF]

Thursday, February 23, 2017: Light and Matter [PDF]

Week 8:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017: Telescopes [PDF]

Thursday, March 2, 2017: Solar System: Overview; Age of the Earth [PDF]

Week 9:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Midterm #2 (see the study guide)

Thursday, March 9, 2017: Earth's Interior; Earth's Atmopshere [PDF]

Week 10:


Week 11:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017: Impacts; The Moon [PDF]

Thursday, March 23, 2017: Mercury; Venus [PDF]

Week 12:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017: Mars; Terrestrial Planets Overview [PDF]

Thursday, March 30, 2017: Jupiter; Saturn; Moons of Jupiter and Saturn [PDF]

Week 13:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017: Rings of Giants Planets; Uranus, Neptune [PDF]

Thursday, April 6, 2017: Midterm #3 (see the study guide)

Week 14:

Tuesday, Aril 11, 2017: Pluto and the Kuiper Belt; Comets; Asteroids [PDF]

NASA website for the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt probe.

NASA website for the Dawn Mission to asteroids Ceres and Vesta.

Extra class notes: Formation of the Solar System; Fate of the Solar System [PDF]

Thursday, Aril 13, 2017: Extrasolar Planets Part I [PDF]

Week 15:

Tuesday, Aril 18, 2017: Extrasolar Planets Part II [PDF]

Thursday, April 20, 2017: Odds and Ends

Week 16:

Thursday, April 27, 2017: Final Exam 2:00 p.m.

(see the final exam study guide)


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

Exam 1: Tuesday February 7, 2017

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 1 score distribution: median=74%)

Exam 2: Tuesday March 7, 2017

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 2 score distribution: median=78%)

Exam 3: Thursday April 6, 2017

(see the study guide) (see the Midterm 3 score distribution: median=74%)

Final Exam: Thursday Apr 27 2:00pm-3:45pm

(see the final exam study guide)

Return to: [ Astronomy Courses Page | Astronomy Department Homepage | Professor Stanek's Homepage ]
Updated Sat Apr 15 15:30:59 EDT 2017