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

Astronomy 162
Winter Quarter 2006
Course Syllabus

[ General Info | Objectives | Homework | In-Class Quizzes | Final Exam | Grading Policy | Makeup Policy | Lectures & Readings | Students with Disabilities | Academic Misconduct | Classroom Etiquette ]

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General Information

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

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: Stars+Galaxies is just the second half of Universe repackaged in a smaller volume.

Course Web Page:

Course Objectives

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 Universe?


Homework Assignments

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 date.

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.

In-Class Quizzes

There will be four (4) in-class quizzes, scheduled for the following Fridays:
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
Please mark your calendars with these dates.

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 such problems.

Makeup Policy

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.

Final Exam

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).

Grading Policy

Lectures & Readings

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 transcripts.

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).

Related Readings in Universe

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).

Online Resources

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.

Students with Disabilities

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.

Academic Misconduct

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.

Classroom Etiquette

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:
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 ring" mode).

Use of Wireless Laptops or other networked devices is prohibited.
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 over.
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.
A little courtesy and common sense go a long way. Thank you for your cooperation.
Return to the Astronomy 162 Main Page
Updated: 2006 January 2
Copyright Richard W. Pogge, All Rights Reserved.