- Instructor: William Hirt
- Office: Science-217 (7-217)
- Office hours: MWF 10:00-10:50 AM, T 2:00-2:50 PM, Th 11:00-11:50 AM, and by appointment
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office phone: 530·938·5255
- Lab phone: 530·938·5157
- Meeting times: TTh 12:30-1:45 PM
- Meeting places: DLC 3 and RHSI 1-124
- Units: 3.0
- Degree applicability: UC, CSU and COS
Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Astronomy (ASTR 1110) depends on a student's preparation and participation as well as on the format of the course.
- Preparation: ENGL 1001 (College Composition) and MATH 0850 or 0851 (Elementary Algebra or Beginning Algebra I) are prerequisites for this course. Students who have successfully completed these advisories succeed in ESS courses like ASTR 1110 at a rate (68%) more than twice that of students who have not (32%). If you have not successfully completed ENGL 1001 and MATH 0850 or 0851 you will need to do so before you enroll in ASTR 1110.
- Participation: Students who participate in their Astronomy class at least 85% of the time (as measured by attendance and the submission of assignments) succeed at a much higher rate (78%) than do students enrolled in the class as a whole (54%).
- Format: Students who enroll in online ESS courses are significantly less likely to complete them (57%) than are students who enroll in face-to-face or lab courses (70 and 72%, respectively). If you are a student who learns best by hands-on experience or in a group setting you are encouraged to take a lab or face-to-face class rather than an online class if possible.
- Textbook (required): Discovering the Universe, 10th ed. by Comins and Kauffman (ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-4086-0)
Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:
- Predict common celestial motions, seasons, phases of the Moon and the timings of eclipses and tides based on your knowledge of motions within the Earth-Sun-Moon system.
- Use physical models of gravity and light to explain common astronomical phenomena—such as orbital motion and the Doppler shifts of spectral lines—and solve basic problems related to these phenomena.
- Relate systematic differences in the motions and compositions of bodies in the Solar System to their distances from the Sun according to the nebular hypothesis.
- Estimate a star’s distance, temperature and mass from measurements of its color and brightness and indicate which type of stellar remnant this star is likely to become at the end of its life.
- Infer the likely nature and history of a galaxy from measurements of its shape and energy output, and relate the large-scale motions of galaxies to models for the origin and history of the Universe.
- Analyze whether an observation, experimental result or proposed explanation is consistent with a scientific hypothesis for a natural phenomenon and effectively communicate this analysis to others.
Spring 2016 Course Schedule
|20-Jan:22-Jan||Fundamental concepts; Earth-Sun-Moon relationships||1|
|25-Jan:29-Jan||Gravitation and dynamics of the Solar System||2|
|1-Feb:5-Feb||Nature of light and telescopes||3|
|8-Feb:10-Feb||Blackbodies, spectra and the Doppler effect||4|
|17-Feb:19-Feb||Origin of the Solar System||5|
|22-Feb:26-Feb||Earth and its Moon||6|
|29-Feb:4-Mar||Inner planets: Mercury, Venus and Mars||7|
|7-Mar:11-Mar||Outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune||8|
|14-Mar:18-Mar||Dwarf planets, asteroids and comets||9|
|21-Mar:25-Mar||Structure and activity of the Sun||10|
|4-Apr:8-Apr||Stars: distances, brightnesses and spectra||11|
|11-Apr:15-Apr||Lives of stars: nebulae, clusters and variable stars||12|
|18-Apr:22-Apr||Deaths of stars: planetary nebulae, neutron stars & black holes||13 & 14|
|2-May:6-May||Galaxies and galactic clusters||16|
|9-May:13-May||Quasars and active galaxies||17|
|16-May:20-May||Cosmology and the history of the Universe||18|
|26-May||final exam, 1:00-2:50 PM||all|
Grades will be based on total scores for:
- online study questions (50 total points);
- daily clicker questions (50 total points)
- two midterm exams (60 total points);
- three writing assignments (40 total points);
- a comprehensive final exam (50 points).
There will be no alternate or "extra credit" assignments. For each writing assignment a student will read an article of their choice from a set of two selected for the class and write an outline, abstract and revised abstract of that article. The final grade will be computed from the total of 250 points and scored as follows: > 90% = A; 80-89+% = B; 70-79+% = C; 60-69+% = D; and <60% = F. The instructor reserves the right to adjust these percentages if such an adjustment is warranted by the class score distribution, but under no circumstances will a student who earns a score of <65% or fails to turn in any of the writing assignments receive a satisfactory (A, B, or C) grade.
A student should expect to spend about 6 hours per week reading, taking notes on the text, and studying for exams. Completion of the homework and writing assignments will also require about an additional 8 hours during the course of the semester.
Attendance, Withdrawal and Incomplete Policies
Regular participation and punctual submission of assignments are required for satisfactory completion of this course. Up to three absences will be excused if the student: (1) notifies the instructor by e-mail or phone, (2) schedules a time to make up the missed work before the next class session he or she attends, and (3) makes up the work as scheduled. If a student incurs six unexcused absences he or she will be dropped from the class. A student may withdraw before 29-Apr-2016 without receiving a grade, and is responsible for notifying the admissions and records office and completing all necessary forms. Arrangements for an incomplete must be made with the instructor, and an "I" will be granted only in the case of an unforeseen personal or family emergency.
Students have the right to request reasonable accommodations to college requirements, services, facilities or programs if their documented disability imposes an educational limitation or impedes access to requirements, services, facilities or programs. If you anticipate the need for reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of this course, you will need to register with the Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS). If you qualify for services through DSPS, bring (or email) your official notification of your accommodation needs to the instructor as soon as possible. Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS) office is located in Eddy Hall (Weed Campus) or we can be reached by calling (530) 938-5297. Students who consult with or request assistance from DSPS regarding specific modifications, accommodations, adjustments, alternate text or use auxiliary aids will be required to meet timelines and procedural requirements established by the DSPS office.
Make-up Policy for Missed Work
Writing assignments, midterm exams and daily clicker questions may be made-up if: (1) prior arrangements have been made with the instructor; and (2) they are completed before the next exam or before graded exercises are returned to the class (as appropriate). The final exam cannot be made up.
Late Assignment Policy
Writing assignments will be penalized 1 point for each class period they are late and will not be accepted after the graded assignments have been returned to the class.
Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another as they discuss assignments and prepare for exams. I expect that a student will work independently, however, when he or she takes exams, and writes his or her outlines and abstracts. If I find evidence that any students are not living up to this code of academic integrity (for example, because they submit identical or nearly identical writing assignments) I reserve the right to drop them from the class unless it is after the fourteenth week, in which case the students will receive F grades regardless of accumulated points.