Course Information, Syllabus, and Homework Assignments


Astronomy 110 (Section 5)
Survey of Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Fall Term 2009

Dr. Ilia I. Roussev
IfA Office Phone: 956-6648
Watanabe Hall Office: Room 401
IfA Office: Room B-108

Teaching Staff

This section of Astronomy 110 will be given by Prof. Ilia I. Roussev. Prof. Roussev received his Ph.D. in solar physics at Queen's University Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland). He spent 4 years on the space physics faculty at the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) before joining the faculty of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy (IfA) in 2006. More information on Prof. Roussev's history and interests may be found in the "Biographical Information and Curriculum Vitae" on his website at: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/iroussev/.

Prof. Roussev's main office is in Room B-108 of the Institute for Astronomy at 2680 Woodlawn Drive, 100 meters makai of the Manoa Marketplace (a five-minute ride on the Rainbow Shuttle from the main Manoa campus).

Mr. Gabriel Dima is the Teaching Assistant for this course. He has a B.S. degree from the Cambridge University (UK). Mr. Dima's office is in Room 403 in Watanabe Hall. His e-mail address is gdima@ifa.hawaii.edu.

Office Hours

Prof. Ilia Roussev: TTh 10:15-11:15am at Watanabe 401. No appointment is required.
Or, by appointment, at his IfA office (B-108). You are
encouraged to come 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.

Mr. Gabriel Dima: MW 11:30am-12:30pm at Watanabe 403. No appointment is required.

Textbook

The textbook for this course is The Essential Cosmic Perspective, fifth edn. (fourth edn. is also OK to use), by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider & Voit, published by Pearson/Addison-Wesley in 2009, including the Media Workbook and the Voyager Sky Gazer CD which accompany the textbook. In my opinion this is an especially well-thought-out textbook. Typically, there will be reading assignments in this text, and exercises from the Media Workbook to be submitted and marked. Copies of the textbook and workbook are available in the UH Bookstore.

Relation of Text to Lectures

The examinable content of this course is defined by what is presented in the lectures, reading assignments, and homework exercises. There is more material in the textbook than will be covered in the lectures, and some of the material presented in the lectures will not be found in the textbook. A reading assignment for each lecture is given in the accompanying syllabus.

Interactive classroom activities

Three years ago, some of my colleagues have persuaded the Physics and Astronomy Department to buy a set of "clickers" that we loan to each student for each class. (The alternative, which is done in many places, is to require students to purchase them.) I have developed a set of questions which for each major concept which I will project on the screen for students to answer using the clickers. The clicker technology enables me to see the answers in real time. Most questions will precede my lecture on a topic, so I better understand the preconceptions the class brings to that topic. Other questions will follow my presentation to test understanding of each concept. Students will be invited to think about the correct answers, then discuss their ideas with their neighbors, and finally use the clickers to give their answers. I can then assess the extent to which my lecture was successful. If there is substantial confusion I can then try to correct misunderstanding which has appeared. It should therefore be apparent that attendance at lectures is mandatory. A student will not be able to get the equivalent learning experience only by reading the textbook.

Clicker guidelines

Students are asked to pick up a clicker when they enter the classroom each morning and return it when they leave the classroom. The clickers will be shared by several sections of the Survey of Astronomy course. Students are also welcome to buy their own clickers from the U-H bookstore.

Mathematics

This course is essentially a non-mathematical introduction to astronomy. Astronomy is, however, both a descriptive and a quantitative science. If we say only that some astronomical object is "big" or "far away," we will not have got much beyond astronomy in the pre-Christian Era. In general, I do not see much point in having you plug numbers into a formula and use a calculator correctly to get an answer. My principal use of math will be with functional relationships: for example, that the brightness of a given star decreases as the square of its distance from us.

You will need to be able to understand numbers in powers of ten notation, e.g., 3,000 = 3 x 103. 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. All this will be presented in the first lecture and reviewed in the first homework, and it is also summarized in Appendix C, pages A-4 to A-12 of the textbook.

Examinations

The two mid-term exams and the final exam will consist mostly of multiple-choice questions. The latter will be computer-graded, so you must use No. 2 pencils for these exams, since the computer makes errors when trying to read marks made by harder pencils or in ink. Make sure that you bring a pencil and a photo-ID with you for the exam. We will check that students taking the exam are properly registered. You will be required to sign as well as print your name on your answer sheet. Failure to do so will result in a mark of zero for the exam. No late-comers will be admitted to the exam after one student has left the room.

Make-up exams will be offered only for serious emergencies. If you must miss an exam you must see the instructor as soon as you are able. Make-up exams, if permitted, will consist of essay-type questions. Permission to take make-up exams for athletics-related absences must be obtained in advance of the missed exam; otherwise no make-up exam will be offered. No athletics-related absences will be permitted for the final exam. The mid-term exams will each count for 20%, and the final for 40% of the course grade. Each mid-term exam will cover approximately the previous third of the course material. The first half of the final exam will be over the last third of the course material, and the second half of the final exam will be over the entire course.

Homework

Homework assignments from the Media Workbook will be set approximately once a week. The content of the homeworks is part of the examinable material of the course. Late homework papers will not be accepted. Return and discussion of homeworks will take place as quickly as possible after the due date. The average of the homework marks will count for 20% of the final grade, i.e., the homeworks are equal in importance to one of the mid-term exams. Some homeworks will have bonus questions which, if answered correctly, will bring students extra points, i.e., some students may earn more than 100 points per given homework!

Marking (Grading)

Homework Average 20%
First Mid-Term 20%
Second Mid-Term 20%
Final Exam 40%

Studying for this course

A reading assignment from the textbook will be given for each lecture. Typically, each assignment will be about 10 pages long. Please read the assigned material before coming to the lecture. Then re-read it after the lecture (if possible the same day) in conjunction with review of your lecture notes, to fill out missing details in your lecture notes, and to clear up points you are confused about.

There are a variety of insightful hints for maximizing your learning experience at university on the website of the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College. You may browse them at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/success/index.html.

Daily reading assignments and homework assignments

The following pages give listings of the reading assignments in the textbook for each day's lecture, and the day each homework paper from the Media Workbook is due. Please note that homeworks are collected at the beginning of each class, and late homeworks will not be accepted.

Date
Lecture Topic
Corresponding Reading
25th August
Introduction to the Course and Math Review
Ch. 1, pp. 2-21; App C, pp. A-4 to 12
27th August
1. What Is the Structure of the Universe? Babylonians & Greeks
Ch. 3, pp. 57-64
1st September
2. How Do We Find Knowledge in Science? Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo, and Kepler
Ch. 3, pp. 64-78
3rd September
Newtonian Dynamics and Gravitation
Ch. 4, pp. 85-92 and pp. 98-105
8th September
3. Why Do We Have Seasons?
The Celestial Sphere
Ch. 2, pp. 27-34
10th September
Why Do We Have Seasons
Ch. 2, pp. 34-42
15th September
Motions of the Moon and Eclipses
Ch. 2, pp. 42-48
17th September
4. How Do We Learn About Objects and Events in the Heavens? Electromagnetic Radiation Spectrum
Ch. 5, pp. 111-117
22nd September
Thermal Radiation and Spectroscopy
Ch. 5, pp. 117-125
24th September
Telescopes in Astronomy
Ch. 5, pp. 125-135
29th September
5. What Is the Origin of Our Solar System? Overview of the Solar System
Ch. 6, pp. 143-160
1st October
Origin of the Solar System
Ch. 6, pp. 160-173
6th October
Mid-Term 1
8th October
Mars: A Victim of Planetary Freeze-Drying
Ch. 7, pp. 203-211
13th October
6. Why Does the Sun Shine? Solar Energy
Ch. 10, pp 285-295
15th October
Solar Activity and Sun-Earth Connection
Ch. 10, pp. 295-301
20th October
7. What Is the Life Cycle of a Star? Basic Properties of Stars
Ch. 11, pp. 307-315
22nd October
Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram & Star Formation

Ch. 11, pp. 315-323 & Ch. 12, pp. 332-339

27th October
Stellar Evolution: Low-Mass Stars
Ch. 12, pp. 339-346
29th October
8. What Is the Origin of the Elements? Stellar Evolution: High-Mass Stars
Ch. 12, pp. 346-356
3rd November
White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars
Ch. 13, pp. 362-371
5th November
Black Holes
Ch. 13, pp. 371-379
10th November
Mid-Term 2
12th November
9. What Is the Life Cycle of a Galaxy? The Milky Way Galaxy
Ch. 14, pp. 387-405
17th November
Basic Properties of Galaxies & Hubble's Law
Ch. 15, pp. 411-426
19th November
Galaxy Evolution & Activity in the Nuclei of Galaxies
Ch. 15, pp. 426-431
24th November
10. What Is the Origin and Evolution of the Universe? The Big-Bang
Ch. 17, pp. 471-480
26th November
Thanksgiving Holiday
No class
1st December
Evidence for the Big Bang & Inflation
Ch. 17, pp. 480-490
3rd December
Nature of Dark Matter
Ch. 16, pp. 444-455
8th December
Fate of the Universe
Ch. 16, pp. 458-463
10th December
Epilogue
15th December
Final Exam
9:45-11:45 at WAT 112
Date
Homework Assignment

in Media Workbook

Submit answers to:

25th August
27thAugust
1st September
3rd September
1. Scale of the Universe
Questions 1-10, pp. 1-3
8th September
10th September
2. Motion & Gravity
Questions 1-12, pp. 27-29
15th September
17th September
3. Seasonal Constellations
Parts 1-3, pp. 177-179
22nd September
24th September
4. Phases of the Moon
Questions 1-12, pp. 21-23
29th September
1st October
5. Energy
Questions 1-12, pp. 39-41
6th October
Mid-Term 1
8th October
6. Light & Spectroscopy
Questions 1-12, pp. 45-47
13th October
15th October
7. Telescopes
Questions 1-12, pp. 57-59
20th October
22nd October
8. Formation of the Solar System
Questions 1-12, pp. 63-65
27th October
29th October
9. The Sun
Questions 1-12, pp. 87-89
3rd November
5th November
10. Measuring Cosmic Distances
Questions 1-9, pp. 105-106
10th November
Mid-Term 2
12th November
17th November
11. Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
Questions 1-12, pp. 93-95
19th November
24th November
12. Stellar Evolution
Questions 1-11, pp. 99-100
26th November
Thanksgiving Holiday
1st December
13. Black Holes
Questions 1-12, pp. 111-112
3rd December
8th December
14. Hubble's Law
Questions 1-12, pp. 119-120
10th December
15th December
Final Exam
9:45-11:45 at WAT 112