An Introduction to Solar System Astronomy
Autumn Quarter 2006
Prof. Richard Pogge
100 Stillman Hall
This is the website for Autumn Quarter 2006
Please visit the page for Autumn Quarter 2007 if you are taking
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.
- Autumn Quarter 2007 begins on September 19.
- These are the notes from Autumn Quarter 2006. As the quarter goes
on, these files are likely to be taken down.
- Note that the Audio files for the lecture podcasts from
Autumn 2006 have not yet been moved, but are in the
audio page. They will remain there
until I figure out how to swap last year's podcast with this
year's in a graceful fashion.
- 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. Attendance is strongly encouraged, as not all
essential class material will appear on these webpages.
The links below lead to the lecture notes for this course. These are
only outlines of the lectures, not verbatim transcripts. Notes
will generally become available at the beginning of the week in which
the lectures occur.
Part I: The Starry Night
- Unit 1: Introduction
- Unit 2: Discovering Earth & Sky
Part II: The Rise of Modern Astronomy
- Unit 3: The Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs
- Unit 4: The Laws of Nature:
Gravitation, Matter, & Light
Part III: The Family of the Sun
- Unit 5: The Earth & The Moon
- Unit 6: The Family of the Sun
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: 2006 December 6
Copyright © Richard W. Pogge. All Rights