Astronomy 1140

Planets and the Solar System

Autumn Semester 2018

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:50-2:45 pm

McPherson Lab 1015

Course Instructor: Prof. Krzysztof (Kris) Stanek

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

The Final Exam will be on Wednesday, December 12th, 2:00 pm-3:45 pm, in McPherson Lab 1015 (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:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018: Course Introduction; Units and Scales [PDF]

The Scale of the Universe (interactive)

Astro-Physical Calculator

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

Friday, August 24, 2018: 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

Week 2:

Monday, August 27, 2018: The Motion of the Sun [PDF]

Stellarium: free open source planetarium for your computer.

The Sun's Path along the Ecliptic through the Zodiac

Wednesday, August 29, 2018: Telling Time; The Motion of the Moon [PDF]

Lunation (movie of Moon Phases)

Friday, August 31, 2018: The Motion of the Moon; The Calendar [PDF]

Week 3:

Monday, September 3, 2018: Labor Day

Wednesday, September 5, 2018: The Four Seasons [PDF]

Four Seasons: Vivaldi

Friday, September 7, 2018: Eclipses [PDF]

Lunar Eclipse (animation)

Moon Shadow (animation)

2024 April 8 Total Solar Eclipse (animation)

Week 4:

Monday, September 10, 2018: Wandering Planets; Greek Astronomy [PDF]

Retrograde motion of Venus

Wednesday, September 12, 2018: Copernicus [PDF]

Ptolemaic & Copernican Solar System

Friday, September 14, 2018: Tycho, Kepler [PDF]

Week 5:

Monday, September 17, 2018: 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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018: Newton [PDF]

Friday, September 21, 2018: Midterm #1 (see the study guide)

Week 6:

Monday, September 24, 2018: Newtonian Gravity [PDF]


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: Friday, September 21, 2018

(see the study guide)

Exam 2: Friday, October 19, 2018 (subject to change)

Exam 3: Friday, November 16, 2018 (subject to change)

Final Exam: Wednesday, December 12th, 2:00 pm-3:45 pm.

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Updated Mon Sep 10 12:43:51 EDT 2018