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Galaxy NGC4414 from HST Astronomy 162:
Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe
Prof. Richard Pogge, MTWThF 9:30

Lecture Audio Podcasts - Winter 2006

These lecture podcasts are audio recordings of the daily lectures from my Winter Quarter 2006 section of Astronomy 162. They were recorded live, unscripted, unedited, each day. This was my first attempt at podcasting, so the first couple of recordings are a little ragged as I got the things tuned up, and we are missing lectures 1 through 4 for a variety of reasons explained in the first podcast below.

These lecture podcasts are primarily intended as a supplemental study resource for the class. For example, if a studented missed a lecture because of illness or an off-campus trip (sports teams, etc.), they could listen to a recording of the lecture they missed while reading along with the class notes and get mostly caught up. Many students have told me that they use the podcasts as study guides, listening to all or just part of a lecture again to go over material they didn't quite get the first time through. This can help later when studying for the Final as you can listen to lectures again from earlier in the quarter. Overall, students found them very useful, so I will do my best to get good-quality recordings of all lectures up on the web quickly.

Despite their name, you do not need an iPod to listen to a podcast. Any MP3 player, either a portable device or an MP3 audio application program running on your personal computer or laptop, will work just fine. I have listened to these recordings on my Windows XP computer using the iTunes and Windows Media Player software, and on a Linux system using a variety of MP3 players, including via Firefox, so you have plenty of options.

However, beware: these podcasts are a supplement to the lectures, not a substitute for attending class regularly. This class uses a lot of graphics, and lectures often include physical demonstrations of key ideas. If all you do is listen to the audio portion, you'll miss a lot of the key ideas from a lecture! The new technologies are wonderfully enabling, but they can also be dangerously seductive.


All recordings are Copyright © 2006, Richard Pogge, all rights reserved. You are allowed to make personal copies for your own listening, but you may not share or otherwise distribute these audio files to others. If others are interested in listening to them, please point them to this URL.

By downloading any of the audio files from this website, you are implicitly agreeing to the terms of the copyright statement above.

Getting the Recordings

You have a number of options for downloading these recordings:

Method 1: Subscribe to the Podcast

There are several ways to subscribe to a podcast using various podcast receivers. My preferred way is to use Apple's free iTunes player. This will run on Window or Mac, and doesn't care if you own an iPod or not. Other players like Juice or Odeo are known to work well with these podcasts. My examples will be for iTunes, since most students and I use that.

Subscribe with iTunes

This is probably the easiest way to get the Podcasts. Your computer needs to have iTunes installed to do this.

Subscribe with iTunes

This will launch iTunes and access the Astro162 podcast page via the Music Store (subscribing is free despite the silly name). If you are using a Windows computer, may be asked permission before launching iTunes.

When you get to the iTunes Astro162 podcast page, click on the iTunes Subscribe Button button to subscribe to the podcast and start downloading lectures. You can also download individual lecture, write a review, read reviews, etc.

Subscribe to the Podcast RSS Feed

To subscribe to the podcast RSS feed directly, copy and paste this URL into the appropriate "Subscribe to Podcast..." form on your podcast player (iTunes or whatever):
Your player should automatically download the available lecture recordings, and most podcast readers can be setup to automatically download new lectures as they become available.

Some web browsers also know how to initiate a podcast download from an XML source file, try it with this button:

XML Podcast Feed

If it fails, you'll see a screen full of hard to read text. That's your browser's way of telling you to try something else.

Either way you choose to do it, by subscribing to the podcast, you are implicitly agreeing to the terms of the copyright statement above.

Method 2: Direct Download

As an alternative to subscribing to the podcast RSS feed, you can download individual lectures directly as MP3 files below. The lectures are in chronological order, organized by each unit of the course.

By downloading any of the audio files from this website, you are implicitly agreeing to the terms of the copyright statement above.

Welcome Message [1.1Mb MP3]
Lectures 1-4: Where are They? [900kb MP3]

Unit 1: "The Stars in their Courses"
Jan 9: Distances of the Stars [14Mb MP3]
Jan 10: The Motions of the Stars [17Mb MP3]
Jan 11: Stellar Brightness [18Mb MP3]
Jan 12: Stellar Masses & Radii [18Mb MP3]
Jan 13: Stellar Spectra [19Mb MP3]
Jan 17: Synthesis: The Herzsprung-Russell Diagram [19Mb MP3]

Unit 2: "The Starry Dynamo"
Jan 18: The Internal Structure of Stars [18Mb MP3]
Jan 19: As Long as the Sun Shines [16Mb MP3]
Jan 23: Energy Generation & Transport in Stars [16Mb MP3]
Jan 24: Star Formation [16Mb MP3]
Jan 25: The Main Sequence [15Mb MP3]
Jan 26: The Evolution of Low-Mass Stars [15Mb MP3]
Jan 27: The Evolution of High-Mass Stars [16Mb MP3]

Unit 3: "Death & Transfiguration"
Jan 30: Supernovae [16Mb MP3]
Jan 31: Extreme Stars: White Dwarfs & Neutron Stars [16Mb MP3]
Feb 1: Black Holes [17Mb MP3]
Feb 2: Testing Stellar Evolution [16Mb MP3]

Unit 4: "Island Universes"
Feb 6: The Cosmic Distance Problem [18Mb MP3]
Feb 7: The Milky Way [16Mb MP3]
Feb 8: "The Realm of the Nebulae" [15Mb MP3]
Feb 9: A Tale of Two Galaxies: The Milky Way & Andromeda [16Mb MP3]
Feb 10: Spiral Galaxies [16Mb MP3]
Feb 13: Spirals, Ellipticals, & Irregulars [16Mb MP3]
Feb 14: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies [15Mb MP3]
Feb 15: When Galaxies Collide: Interacting Galaxies [16Mb MP3]
Feb 16: Active Galaxies & Quasars [16Mb MP3]

Unit 5: "The Machinery of Night": The Evolving Universe
Feb 20: A Tale of Two World Views: Special Relativity [18Mb MP3]
Feb 21: Space, Time, & Gravity: General Relativity [19Mb MP3]
Feb 22: Einstein's Universe [15Mb MP3]
Feb 23: The Expanding Universe [17Mb MP3]
Feb 24: The Cosmic Distance Scale [16Mb MP3]
Feb 27: The Big Bang [17Mb MP3]
Feb 28: Whispers of Creation [16Mb MP3]
Mar 1: "The First Three Minutes" [16Mb MP3]
Mar 2: "This is the way the world ends": The Fate of the Universe [18Mb MP3]

Unit 6: "The Great Ocean of Truth": The Frontiers of Astronomy
Mar 6: The Once and Future Sun [17Mb MP3]
Mar 7: Dark Matter & Dark Energy [17Mb MP3]
Mar 8: Time Travel [13Mb MP3]
Mar 9: Are We Alone? - Extraterrestrial Life [18Mb MP3]
(Part 1 of 2)
Mar 10: "Life, The Universe, & Everything" [17Mb MP3]
Please refer to the Lecture Notes for the accompanying text. Note that the lecture notes are just that, notes, and not verbatim transcripts of my lectures.

About the Recordings

All audio recordings are being captured live, and are offered unedited, uncut, and as-is. I usually get them converted to MP3 and on the website on the same day as the lecture.

The lectures were recorded using an Olympus WS-200S portable digital voice recorder and lapel microphone (Olympus ME-15). This device creates Windows Media Audio (WMA) format sound files, which I then convert into 115kbps MPEG Layer-3 Audio (MP3) format files using the open-source winLAME encoder. The recorder is set for mono recording with the mic on low-gain (high gain causes too much room noise pickup). A typical lecture recording converted into MP3 format is about 16Mb in size (or around 40 minutes in duration).

Overall, the sound quality is uniformly good, with minor background noise pickup and clipping on occasion. Given the equipment, the lower registers tend to be lost or muted, so everything sounds slightly higher pitched. Professional recording and editing gear this is not, but it seems to suffice, and the spoken material comes through clearly on all playback methods we've tried thus far.

If you have comments or questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email. I especially want to hear from students or anyone else who has found these recordings useful.


Special thanks to Justin Troyer at the OSU Office of Information Technology's Classroom Digital Media Distribution services who gave me excellent advice on setting up the RSS feed and answering other technical questions. Thanks also to my old Caltech friend Paul Ste. Marie who pointed me to the LAME tool.

Return to the Astronomy 162 Main Page
Updated: 2006 March 10
Copyright Richard W. Pogge, All Rights Reserved.