University of Hawai˙i at Mänoa

Astronomy 110 (10:30 MWF)

**Course Information and Policies**

** **

**Paul H.I. Coleman**

**Spring Term 2013**

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/gruff/default/astro110.html

**Teaching
Staff**

This section of the Astronomy 110 course will be given by Paul H.I.
Coleman. Prof. Coleman received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of
Pittsburgh in 1985 while working for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
After a year as a visiting assistant professor at Virginia Tech, He accepted a
position at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in
Groningen, The Netherlands. He was a member of the scientific staff there for
eight years, then he returned to the United States with a series of
appointments at New Mexico Tech, Yale University, and the University of Puerto
Rico, before accepting his current position with the Institute for Astronomy
here in Hawai˙i.

Prof.
Coleman's research interests are primarily in studying the large scale
structure of the universe. He is an advocate for fractal mathematical methods
in the analysis of astronomical objects.
He is also very interested in Hawaiian astronomy since he is a local boy
and native Hawaiian.

Prof.
Coleman's office is in Room C-106 of the Institute for Astronomy (which is a
short ride on the Rainbow Shuttle (the faculty housing bus) from the main Mänoa campus) at 2680 Woodlawn Drive, right next to the new
Mänoa public library). His phone number is 956-9843,
and his e-mail address is pcoleman@ifa.hawaii.edu.

**Office
Hours**

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – for about the hour before class
and for about an hour after class in Watanabe 402. **No appointment is needed.**
You are *encouraged* to come at these times to ask questions about the
course, discuss larger intellectual, University, or personal issues, or just to
have a general conversation and get to know each other. Prof. Coleman will also
be happy to see students at his Institute for Astronomy office, but it is
probably a good idea to make an appointment by phone or e-mail first. This year, the graduate students assigned to
all the Astronomy 110 lectures are pooling their office hours and you should
feel free to go to any of their contact hours for assistance with any phase of
the course. The current schedule will be
announced in class.

**Textbook**

Any edition of *The Essential Cosmic Perspective* by
Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit, should be
acceptable, however, the most recent media enhanced version has the most extra
material if you require more possible study materials. Also, any reading assignments will be made
from the latest version. The topics etc.
are roughly the same, but the page numbers and the most recent material will be
different. Remember, astronomy is a
constantly changing field and you might want to get the most up-to-date
information. The problem is it is also
the most expensive option.

**Relation
of Text to Lectures**

Examination topics for this course will be taken
from the lectures, reading assignments, and homework questions*.* There is more material in the
readings than will be covered in the lectures, and some of the material
presented in the lectures will not be found in the assigned reading. At the end of each week’s material, you will
be given some hints as to what is important in the material covered. The texts contain ample summary question
material such as “The Big Picture”, “Summary of Key Concepts”, “Review
Questions” etc. These are good summaries
and tests of what you should know.

**Mathematics**

Professors
in introductory science courses appreciate that students are concerned about
the mathematics required to understand the course. Astronomy 110 is essentially
a non-mathematical introduction to astronomy. However, astronomy is both a
descriptive and a quantitative science. If we say only
that some astronomical object is "big" or "far away,"
we will not get very much insight into the world around us. Simple arithmetic and ability to insert
numbers into formulae are required. For instance, in the formula

distance traveled = (speed) x
(time traveled),

or in
algebraic symbols

d = st,

if speed
= 30 miles per hour, and time traveled = 2 hours, you should be able to
calculate that the distance traveled = 60 miles. Or, if given that s = 30 mph
and d = 60 miles, that t = 2 hours.

You will
need to be able to understand, and multiply and divide, numbers in powers of
ten notation, e.g. 3,000 = 3 x 10^{3}. This is necessary in astronomy
to avoid spending all one's time writing and counting zeros. Numerical
values will be given in terms of metric units, which are used in science and in
everyday life throughout the civilized world – except for the U.S.A. Professor Coleman is willing to assist as much
as needed, so there is no reason to be anxious about your math abilities. Professor Coleman’s goal is to sneakily get
you used to simple mathematics as used for simple astronomy situations.

**Quizzes**

You will
be graded (primarily) on weekly in-class quizzes which will contain 10 multiple
choice questions. Please come promptly to Friday’s class since the quiz occurs
during the first 10 minutes and it is discussed immediately after it is
collected. They are graded and returned at the beginning of the next class
period.

Make-up
quizzes will be offered only for serious emergencies. If this happens to you,
you must speak with Professor Coleman as soon as you are able. Make-up quizzes,
if permitted, may consist of essay-type questions. Permission to take make-up
quizzes for athletics-related absences must be obtained in advance of the
missed quiz; otherwise no make-up quiz will be offered. Finally, the lowest
quiz score will be dropped from the final grade calculation.

**Homework**

Homework
is assigned approximately once a week, normally on Friday. *The content of
the homework is part of the examinable material of the course *and one of the quiz questions will probably
be directly taken from the homework*.* The homework may require
answers of a few sentences, simple calculations, or perhaps a drawing a graph.
They are designed to help you to work with the ideas and concepts
presented in the course. The homework will normally be due the next Wednesday.
Homework papers will be collected at the *beginning* of the lecture on the
day they are due. *Late homework papers will
not be accepted since the solutions will be discussed and published on the
due date.* The average of the
homework marks will count for some small but important percentage of the final
grade - perhaps equal in importance to 2 or 3 quizzes. (10-15%).

**Possible
Grading Scheme:**

** **

Weekly
quizzes 85%

Homework
15%

Special
events - one half a grade up

** **

**Objectives
of the Course**

There
are two major themes to this course. The first is to develop a basic knowledge
of the variety of objects and events in the large-scale universe. The night sky
is awesome. Astronomy is one of the scientific subjects which is in the
newspaper almost daily - especially here in Hawai'i. We are fortunate in that we
have the best astronomical institute in the world right here (the Institute for
Astronomy) and the best site on Earth for viewing the skies (Maunakea). We intend to provide the minimum knowledge about
astronomy that an educated person in the modern world should know.

Secondly,
we live in a technological age in which science provides the paradigm for
arriving at knowledge. An educated person in the modern world must understand
what constitutes scientific knowledge, how scientific knowledge is gained, and
what the strengths and limitations of this approach to knowledge are. Astronomy
provides an excellent vehicle for illustrating these ideas and explaining the
"magic" in the world around us. We will take astronomy as an example
of how science works, how knowledge and understanding are developed, and we
will also examine the limitations of the scientific method.

A lot of
material falls under the heading "what every educated person should
know" about the Universe. I will essentially follow the lecture list here. Some of the topics will be studied in
more or less depth. For example, the study of planets will be quickly done
while the study of the large scale structure of the Universe will be done in
more depth.

** **

** **If you have read this far, the
magic word is Kowabunga!

Class
lectures in powerpoint (pptx) and .pdf will appear after
the Wednesday lecture each week: