An Introduction to Solar System Astronomy
Autumn Quarter 2007
Prof. Richard Pogge
1000 McPherson Lab
Astronomy 161 is an introduction to modern
astronomy, with an emphasis on the Solar System. The course begins with
an exploration of the historical development of astronomy, tracing the
path by which we have come to our present understanding of the Universe.
Along the way we will build up the basic toolkit of physical concepts
that we will need for our later explorations, specifically the nature of
light, matter, and gravitation. The second part of the course is
devoted to an overview of modern solar system astronomy, with particular
emphasis on the constituents of the solar system, comparative
planetology (structure, surfaces, & atmospheres) and the history and
evolution of the solar system. We will end by discussing the exciting
new discoveries of planets around other stars.
- 2007 November 30
- The Final Exam will be
Thursday, December 6, 11:30-1:18 in MP1000.
- The Last Week Study Guide is
available. This, combined with the other 4 previous study guides,
constitutes a complete set of study guides for the
Final Exam. See also my recommendations for
How to Study for the Ast161 Final Exam.
- My Favorite Astronomy Picture Sites:
- Astronomy Picture of the Day
- NASA Planetary Photojournal
A great collection of planetary images at JPL.
- Latest pictures from the Saturn system
returned by the Cassini spacecraft.
- Latest pictures from
the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and
- Latest pictures from
the Hubble Space Telescope
- This Week's
Sky at a Glance
- Courtesy of Sky & Telescope Magazine
Lectures are daily at 2:30-3:18pm in 1000 McPherson Lab on the OSU
campus in Columbus.
Part I: The Starry Night
- Unit 1: Introduction [Sept 19-21]
- Unit 2: Discovering Earth & Sky
[Sept 24 - Oct 4]
Part II: The Rise of Modern Astronomy
- Unit 3: The Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs
- Unit 4: The Physics of Astronomy:
Gravitation, Matter, & Light
Part III: The Family of the Sun
- Unit 5: The Earth & The Moon
[Oct 29 - Nov 1]
- Unit 6: The Family of the Sun
[Nov 5 - Nov 28]
Part IV: Worlds Beyond the Sun
- Exoplanets: Planets Around
Other Stars [Nov 29]
- Are We Alone? - Life in the
Universe [Nov 30]
Using the Notes
The lecture notes are outlines of the lectures, not verbatim
transcripts, and they have minimal graphics to speed downloads and save on
paper. Notes will generally become available at the beginning of the
week in which the lectures occur.
In the past, students have found it very helpful to make copies of these
notes before class, and then follow along with them in lecture,
making their own notes in the margins. You will find this much easier
than trying to take detailed notes of everything I say.
I wish to strongly emphasize that these are only outlines of my lectures
provided as aids to following along in class, not as
substitutes for regularly attendance. Historically, students who have
gotten into the bad habit of skipping class and just reading the web
notes have performed one whole grade point below the class
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: 2007 November 28
Copyright © Richard W. Pogge. All Rights