For the practice mini-exam, click here.
For solutions to the practice mini-exam, click here.

Reminder: SEIs must be submitted by midnight, Friday, December 4. More information is at the SEI website.

Astronomy 143

The History of the Universe

Fall Quarter 2009

Mo We Fr 10:00 - 11:18 pm

Scott Lab E004

Course Instructor: Prof. Barbara Ryden

Office: 4035 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.

Office Hours: Mo Tu 1:30 - 3 pm, We Fr 3 - 5 pm, or by appointment

Phone: 292-4562


Menu: [ On-Line Info | Lectures | Problem Sets | Grading ]

On-Line Information

Course Syllabus [PDF version]

(Details about grading, office hours, course schedule, problem set due dates, and so forth.)

Roof & Planetarium Nights

(On selected nights during the quarter, there will be a planetarium show in Smith Laboratory, followed by an opportunity to view the sky through a 12-inch aperture telescope. If you attend a planetarium show, make sure you sign the sign-up sheet to get your extra credit.)

Astronomy Picture of the Day

(This provides a new astronomical image each day -- the subjects range from distant galaxies to our home planet, the Earth.)


Week 1 (Sep 23, 25)

Wednesday, September 23: Introduction [PDF notes]

Friday, September 25: The Origins of Cosmology [PDF notes]

Week 2 (Sep 28, 30, Oct 2) Preparatory Reading = Chapters 1 & 2

Monday, September 28: Ancient Cosmology [PDF notes]

Wednesday, September 30: Renaissance Cosmology [PDF notes]

Friday, October 2: Tools of Modern Cosmology [PDF notes]

Week 3 (Oct 5, 7, 9) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 3

Monday, October 5: Light [PDF notes]

Wednesday, October 7: What is a Star? [PDF notes]

Friday, October 9: What is a Galaxy? [PDF notes]

Week 4 (Oct 12, 14, 16) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 4

Monday, October 12: Gravity [PDF notes]

Wednesday, October 14: Stars and Galaxies in Motion [PDF notes]

Friday, October 16: The Elusive Dark Matter [PDF notes]

Week 5 (Oct 19, 21, 23) Preparatory Reading = Chapters 5 & 6

Monday, October 19: Why is it Dark at Night? [PDF notes]

Wednesday, October 21: The Expanding Universe [PDF notes]

Friday, October 23: Newton versus Einstein [PDF notes]

Week 6 (Oct 26, 28, 30) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 7

Monday, October 26: Is the Universe Infinite? [PDF notes]

Wednesday, October 28: Dark Energy [PDF notes]


Week 7 (Nov 2, 4, 6) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 8

Monday, November 2: The Cosmic Microwave Background [PDF notes]

Wednesday, November 4: More Fun with Microwaves [PDF notes]

Friday, November 6: Energy & Power [PDF notes]

Week 8 (Nov 9, 11, 13) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 9

Monday, November 9: Stars as Nuclear Reactors [PDF notes]

Wednesday, November 11: VACATION

Friday, November 13: The Early Universe as a Nuclear Reactor [PDF notes]

Week 9 (Nov 16, 18, 20) Preparatory Reading = Chapters 10 & 11

Monday, November 16: The Hot Big Bang [PDF notes]

Wednesday, November 18: Density of the Universe [PDF notes]

Friday, November 20: Destiny of the Universe [PDF notes]

Week 10 (Nov 23, 25) Preparatory Reading = Chapter 12

Monday, November 23: Why is the Universe Lumpy? [PDF notes]

Wednesday, November 25: The Inflationary Universe [PDF notes]

Friday, November 27: VACATION

Week 11 (Nov 30, Dec 2, 4) Preparatory Reading = Chapters 13 & 14

Monday, November 30: Planets [PDF notes]

Wednesday, December 2: Life [PDF notes]

Friday, December 4: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? [PDF notes]

Problem Sets

Problem Set 1: Due Wednesday, October 7, at class time

Problems [PDF]

Problem Set 2: Due Wednesday, October 14, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]

Problem Set 3: Due Wednesday, October 21, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]

Problem Set 4: Due Wednesday, October 28, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]

Problem Set 5: Due Friday, November 13, at class time

Problems [PDF]

Problem Set 6: Due Wednesday, November 18, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]

Problem Set 7: Due Wednesday, November 25, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]

Problem Set 8: Due Wednesday, December 2, at class time

Problems [PDF]
TA's solution set [PDF]


The course grade will be determined from the results of an in-class midterm (30 percent), a final exam (30 percent), and 8 problem sets (a total of 40 percent). See the course syllabus for more details on exams, problem sets, and the makeup and grading policies.

Midterm Exam: Friday, October 30, in class

Professor's solution set [PDF]

Final Exam: Tuesday, December 8, 9:30am - 11:18am, in Scott Lab E004 (our usual classroom)

Return to: [ Astronomy Undergraduate Courses Page | Astronomy Department Homepage | Professor Ryden's Homepage ]
Updated: 2009 Dec 7 [Barbara Ryden]

Image Credits:
Space Telescope Science Institute (AURA/STScI)

Copyright 2009, Barbara Ryden