Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe
Prof. Richard Pogge, MTWThF 9:30
Winter Quarter 2006
Lectures & Readings
Students with Disabilities
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- MTWRF, 9:30-10:18am
- 1008 Evans Laboratory (EL1008)
- Prof. Richard Pogge
- Office: 4037 McPherson Lab, 292-0274
- Office Hours: TWTh 11-12:30 or by appointment
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- TA: Shawn Poindexter
- Office: 4031 McPherson Lab, 292-7881
- Office Hours: M 11:15-12:15, T 1:00-1:30, W 1:30-2:30 or by appointment
- Recommended Textbook:
- Universe 7th Edition, by Roger A. Freedman
& William J. Kaufmann III
(W.H. Freeman & Company)
- NOTE: it has recently come to my attention that the campus
bookstore has mistakenly listed two books as "required". If
you already purchased Universe, you have all you need. If
you purchased The Solar System for Astronomy 161, you should
purchase Universe: Stars+Galaxies instead of the full
version of Universe. However, DO NOT BUY BOTH:
is just the second half of Universe repackaged in a smaller
- Course Web Page:
Astronomy 162 is an overview of the universe beyond our solar
system. The course is divided into three interlinking parts that will
review what astronomers have learned about the stars, the galaxies, and the
Universe. We will examine how these ideas have been developed and tested
against observations, and explore a few of the outstanding problems faced
by current astronomical research. The questions to be addressed include:
What are stars? Where do stars get their energy? What is the fate of the
Sun and other stars? What are galaxies? What is the Big Bang model of the
Universe? What is "Dark Matter"? What is the ultimate fate of the
There will be five (5) Homework Assignments
during the quarter, each consisting of a short set of multiple-choice
questions. The questions are open-book, open-notes, open-discussion,
which you will answer using bubble sheets returned in class on the due
Collectively the homework will count for 15% of your grade, equivalent
to one in-class quiz. These are not practice quizzes, but instead are
an opportunity to ask somewhat more challenging questions than I can on
the quizzes. They are designed get you thinking about the course topics
in an active way. I strongly encourage you to form study groups to
discuss the questions, though you must decide on the final answers
yourself (beware the perils of group-think!).
Late Homework Policy
No late homework will be accepted. All assignments must be
submitted in class on the due date. Exceptions will only be made for
legitimate, documented emergencies.
There will be four (4) in-class quizzes, scheduled for the following
Please mark your calendars with these dates.
- In-Class Quiz 1: Friday, January 20
- In-Class Quiz 2: Friday, February 3
- In-Class Quiz 3: Friday, February 17
- In-Class Quiz 4: Friday, March 3
The quizzes will be held at the normal class time, 9:30-10:18pm, and you
will have the entire class time to take it. Bring only a #2 pencil with
you: no notes, books, scrap paper or any other items will be allowed.
All of the in-class quizzes and the final exam will be closed-book,
closed-notes multiple-choice tests. These computer-generated tests
provide each student with a unique test (you are asked the same
questions and answers as everyone else, but the order of questions and
answers is randomized).
The in-class quizzes will cover the material in the lectures and
readings since the previous quiz, whereas the final exam will be
comprehensive, covering the entire quarter. Each consists of 50
multiple-choice questions. The general emphasis is on the important
"core" facts of covered, plus some questions that require putting ideas
together and drawing correct conclusions. I do not expect you to
know multi-digit numbers, historical dates, etc. I will also ask a
small number of quantitative questions, but the constraints of the
multiple-choice format restrict the kinds of such questions I can ask on
a 50-question test. As such, I usually defer more complicated
quantitative questions to the homework where we have more scope to ask
Makeup in-class quizzes are only offered by advance arrangement
with the professor. Exceptions will be made for legitimate,
documentable emergencies which require no advance notice. If you will
be away on an official University-sponsored activity (e.g., sports
teams, band, etc.), please provide a letter from your coach, director,
etc. in advance of the quiz. In-class quizzes must be made up
before Wednesday after the quiz that you missed, otherwise that quiz
becomes the one that I will drop in computing your final grade.
The Final Exam for this course is on Wednesday, March 15 at
9:30am in 1008 Evans Lab). Attendance for the Final Exam is
mandatory. Note that this is the same place and time as our
regular class time.
The final will be comprehensive, covering all lectures and
assigned readings, and of the same format as the in-class exams, only
longer. It is worth 40% of your final course grade.
No makeup final will be offered.
Persons who miss the final exam will be given an incomplete (I) with an
alternative grade equal to getting a zero on the final, and have to make
it up during Spring Quarter 2006 to avoid the alternative grade (which
at 40% of the total course grade, will be guaranteed to be much lower
than you will like).
In keeping with official University policy, early finals will not
be available for those persons who wish to depart early for Spring
Break. Please plan ahead and make your travel plans accordingly, as I
will make no exceptions (excluding military personnel called to active
or reserve duty, but please provide a letter from your CO).
- The 5 homework assignments will collectively account for 15% of
your grade, equivalent to 1 in-class quiz.
- I will drop the lowest score of the 4 in-class quizzes, and use the
scores on the 3 remaining quizzes to compute your grade. Together,
these in-class quizzes count for 45% of your grade.
- The final exam will be cumulative, covering all material from the
class. It accounts for 40% of your grade, and must be taken
by all students.
- All grading, homework and exams, is done on a standard C+ curve.
Lectures will be daily, 9:30-10:18am in 1008 Evans Lab.
The daily lectures are your primary resource for this course. The
textbook will be only used as a secondary reference from which I will
suggest related readings. We will not (and cannot) cover all of the
topics in the second half of the textbook during a 10-week course. In
between these two resources in importance are the daily lecture notes
available on the web. While you will very likely find these notes to be
useful aids for studying and following along in lecture, they are not
substitutes for regular attendance. Most students find that the best
strategy is to print out the notes, bring them with to class, and then
add their own notes in the margins. Remember, these are only
outlines of what I cover each day in class, not comprehensive
Reading the web notes alone instead of going to the lectures is like
reading the script of a movie on the web instead of going to see it for
yourself - you get (most) all of the words, but important nuances,
visuals, and connections between ideas will be lost. Astronomy is a
very visual science, working with often striking images, and you'll get
little or none of this from the notes.
In general, students who do not attend class regularly score one whole
grade below those who attend class (i.e., a D instead of a C).
Readings are assigned by individual lectures. There is also a general
listing by the topical units. Because introductory astronomy textbooks
aimed at non-science majors are rarely organized exactly the same as our
courses, we will not strictly follow the order of topics in the book.
You can expect to jump around some as the course progresses. Not all
topics in this course are covered by the book, and similarly not all
topics covered in the book will be discussed in the course (this is a
common property of astronomy textbooks - they tend to be overly detailed
in general, and idiosyncratically omit or add topics).
The Internet is an exceptionally powerful medium for education, and we
will be making considerable use of it for many aspects of this course.
However, I want to make absolutely clear up front that this is not in
any way an electronic or "distance learning" course. While the Internet
is one of the resources available to you, it is not the primary medium
of the course.
Of course, you are not limited to just the materials presented here, and
you are encouraged to explore the many astronomy-related sites on the
Internet. What I hope will come out of your participation in this
course is not only a knowledge of the various Astronomy-related Internet
sites, but also an increased critical awareness of what constitutes a
good site, and what is garbage (and there is lots of garbage to sift
through out there). One of the things I hope you will get out of this
course is how to do that sifting.
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 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 basic rules of behavior during lectures and exams:
A little courtesy and common sense go a long way. Thank you for your
- 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 (i.e., do not simply put into a standby or "silent
- 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 (e.g.,
expecially devices like PDAs, Blackberries, etc. that can be used for
2-way communications, email, IM, etc.) must be turned off and put away.
- 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 very clear when we're done, and work very hard to
stay on time, 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.
- Please respect the wishes of your fellow students to listen to the
lecture, and do not carry on conversations during class. Sound carries
remarkably well even in a large room like EL1008, and your conversation
will be heard by others around you.
Return to the Astronomy 162 Main Page
Updated: 2006 January 2
Copyright © Richard W. Pogge,
All Rights Reserved.