~ Welcome to Astronomy 106

Welcome to Astronomy 106

23 Sep 2000
All astro LABS BEGIN monday, August 28


Lecture 9:10-10:05 MWF
in Room C112, MatSci Bldg


Dr. Robert Sheldon

Office Hours:

MWF 8-9, & TBA, Room 348 Optics Bldg


UAH:824 2860
MSFC:544 1652
E-mail: sheldonr@uah.edu

Teaching Assistants:

Yuki Kaneko
Office Hours: MWF 10:30-12
Office: OB 432 824-3138

Landon Freeman
Office Hours: TuTh 4-6

Nate Lewis
Office Hours: Mon 4-6


Universe, 5th edition
William J. Kaufmann, III,
W.H. Freeman and Company, NY


Exploring the Cosmos, parts I and II, is designed to give you an overall look at the history of astronomy, the techniques and equipment used to make astronomical observations, the life cycle of stars, the theories of the evolution of our solar system and galaxy, and the theories of the our entire universe. Part I of this course will cover chapters 1-8 and 17-24, which include the basics of our view of the sky, telescopes, the nature of light, our solar system, and the life cycle of stars all the way to black holes. Part II will cover the remaining chapters, which include the evolution of galaxies, clusters and superclusters, basic cosmology, and a survey of our solar system's bodies.

These courses are meant primarily for non-science majors, though they are also the introductory courses for physics students with an astrophysics interest. Students will be expected to perform only basic algebraic and mathematical calculations to support various theories; no high level mathematics is required. (Basic Algebra is a course pre-requisite!) While learning about the solar system and the stars, you will learn physical relationships between quantities such as temperature, pressure, brightness, distance, speed, angle, etc. You will also learn to interpret data to make informed decisions about astronomical theories, particularly in the laboratory exercises which accompany the lecture.

The laboratory exercises will also include a simple observing project which will be due later in the semester. Other than that project, there are few observational requirements for this course. However, the graduate students teaching the laboratory and I are all available to conduct viewing exercises as required. There are small telescopes in the astronomy laboratory that you may check out from the lab instructor or from me. If you know of an upcoming astronomical event or would just like the opportunity to look through a scope at whatever might be visible, please make your request known and we'll schedule a viewing. If you wish to be notified of any last-minute observing activities, send me an email message so that I may add you to my viewing list. Also, the Von Braun Astronomical Society has an observatory and planetarium on Monte Sano Mountain which is open quite often to the public for planetarium shows and general observing. Visit their website at www.vbas.org for more information


Homework assignment due dates are listed below with assignments due at the beginning of class, folded, stapled, with your full name written legibly on the outside. Many homework problems are based on information contained in the "boxes" within the chapters. Late homework may be submitted TO ME with a penalty of 25% per day late; written excuses required from an appropriate authority for no penalty.


Homework assignments will be returned in class within two class periods. All homework will be available before an exam. If you are absent when assignments are returned, you can retrieve them from a box outside my office. Exams will also be returned in class within two class periods or can be picked up from me during office hours after the second class period; I do not leave exams in the box outside my office.


After the due date, solutions to the homework assignments will be posted on the main syllabus web page as gif files. The solutions are good study aids as I often supply more information than necessary to answer the question. This is my way of "going over the homework".


My exams reflect the homework, examples that I work in class and discussions in lecture and in your book. Exam grades may be scaled to give a class average of 75%, should the class average be lower than this. If you don't come to class and/or don't do homework, you will find it difficult to pass the exams! No early exams. Notification of absence for an exam must be made within 24 hours of exam time. There is an answering machine on my office phone for this purpose. Makeup exams, which may be oral or more difficult, will only be given for absences with a written excuse from the dean.


The laboratory will be taught by a graduate student and/or experienced undergraduates. The grade will be averaged with your class grade as shown above. Many students do well enough in the lab to raise their overall class grade. ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY TO PERFORM THE EXPERIMENTS; LAB REPORTS BASED ON EXPERIMENTS THAT YOU DID NOT PERFORM WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.



I am trying out a new teaching style that tries to use the WWW as a fast-response feedback loop. Before each Wed/Fri class, a Quiz will be posted on the WWW, which must be completed before 8:00 AM on the day that it is assigned. PLEASE do not try to take the quiz after the deadline time, I will not be able to accept it. These quizzes will form the basis of the following lecture. A web site describing this approach can be found at the JiTT Website.


The final grade will be derived from:
I use an absolute scale for letter grades:
Note that beginning in 2000, the "F" grade is replaced with a "N/C" for all 100-level physics courses. That is, failing will no longer reduce your GPA, but it will be treated as if you had withdrawn.


1Aug 23 1The Universe[1]:2,3,6,10,12,16,20,21,23,24
1Aug 25 2The Heavens Quiz 01
2Aug 28 2The Heavens [2]:5,6,8,9,10,13,21,24,28,30
2Aug 30 2The Heavens Quiz 02 Chap 1
2Sep 01 3Eclipses Quiz 03[3]:1,2,3,9,11,14,15,20,22,27
3Sep 04 * *Holiday *
3Sep 06 3Eclipses Quiz 04Chap 2
3Sep 08 4Gravitation Quiz 05[4]: 3,4,6,10,12,14,16,17,22,27
4Sep 11 4Gravitation Chap 3
4Sep 13 4Gravitation Quiz 06
4Sep 15 5Light&MatterNo Quiz[5]: 4,5,7,10,11,14,18,21,25,28Chap 4
5Sep 18 5Light&Matter
5Sep 20 6Telescopes Quiz 08Chap 5
5Sep 22 ***TEST 1***
6Sep 25 6Telescopes [6]: 3,4,6,7,12,13,15,18,19,21
6Sep 27 6Telescopes Quiz 09
6Sep 29 7Solar SystemNo Quiz
7Oct 02 7Solar System[7]:1,2,7,9,12,13,14,16,18,19 Chap 6
7Oct 04 8Living EarthNo Quiz[8]:3,5,6,7,10,11,12,13,18,19
7Oct 06 * *Holiday *
8Oct 09 8Living Earth Chap 7
8Oct 1117Vagabonds Quiz 12 [17]:5,8,9,11,12,15,19,22,25,26
8Oct 1317Vagabonds No QuizChap 8
9Oct 1618Our Star [18]:2,6,8,13,14,17,21,25,26,31
9Oct 1818Our Star Quiz 14Chap 17
9Oct 2018Our Star No Quiz
10Oct 2319Nature of Stars[19]: 2,5,8,9,10,14,19,20,25,34Chap 18
10Oct 2519Nature of StarsNo Quiz
10Oct 2719Nature of StarsNo QuizChap 19
11Oct 30 ***Test 2***
11Nov 0120Birth of StarsNo Quiz [20]: 3,6,7,8,12,14,15,17,19, 24
11Nov 0320Birth of StarsNo Quiz
12Nov 0621Evolution of Stars[21]: 2,3,5,9,11,13,14,17,24,25
12Nov 0821Evolution of StarsQuiz 21
12Nov 1022Death of StarsQuiz 21Chap 20
13Nov 1322Death of Stars[22]:3,4,7,9,12,14,17,18,24,26
13Nov 1522Death of StarsNoQuizChap 21
13Nov 1723Neutron Stars NoQuiz[23]:2,3,4,12,13,15,17,18,23,27
14Nov 2023Neutron Stars Chap 22
14Nov 22 * *Holiday *
14Nov 24 * *Holiday *
15Nov 2723Black Holes [24]:4,6,10,11,12,14,15,16,20,22Chap 23
15Nov 2924Black Holes No Quiz
15Dec 0124Black Holes NoQuiz
16Dec 0430SETI Chap24
16Dec 06 Study Day
16Dec 11 **Final Exam**8:00-10:30

Last Modified Aug 28, 2000