AY C10 / L&S C70U: Introduction to General Astronomy

Professor Alex Filippenko
UC Berkeley, Fall 2006, 2007


Worksheets and handouts for my sections

First Week/Intro: Helps students develop a sense of astronomical scales and work with problems involving ratios and light-travel time. (PDF)

EM Spectrum: Variant on a similar worksheet by Dan Perley. Each group chooses a band of the EM spectrum and explores its properties.
2006 (PDF)
2007 (PDF)

Radiation and its Sources: Questions prompt discussion of thermal emission, reflection, sprectral emission and absorption, excitation and ionization of atoms. (PDF)

Terrestrial Planets: This course moves through the inner solar system very quickly. I thought up a few questions per planet to highlight important ideas (PDF)

Pluto, Comets & Asteroids: Includes a ratios problem and a problem using Kepler's third law. (PDF)

Exoplanets, Stars, Parallax, and miscellaneous: A selective overview of several topics in a single 50-minute section. One page per group. Some of these questions are more challenging (exoplanets in particular). (PDF)

Stellar lifecycles: Like life on Earth, dying stars contribute to the birth of new ones by expelling gas, via gentle release or explosive supernovae.
Worksheet (PDF)
Worksheet with solutions (PDF)

Universal Expansion and Quasars: Using a model "classroom universe," we determined the observational effects of a constantly expanding universe, which lead to Hubble's Law. With Hubble's Law established, astronomers can then compute the amazing distances to highly redshifted objects such as quasars. Expanding Universe activity worksheet (PDF)

Quasars and Cosmology: Step-by-step problem determining the lookback time of an object from its redshift measurement. Other questions about Hubble's Law and the source of quasars' brightness. (PDF)

Cosmic Background Radiation: The earliest directly observable feature of the Universe is the Cosmic Background Radiation, which provides a wealth of insight to the current state of the Universe and presents profound questions about its earliest history. Though we cannot directly observe the evolution of the Universe immediately after the Big Bang, we theorize a dramatic period of explosive inflation, relating initial conditions of matter and energy to those we observe today. (PDF)

Our Universe, in summary. We have presented the inflationary Big Bang theory as the history of our Universe's formation and evolution. It is our best model to date because it can explain many of the phenomena that we observe throughout the Universe. Perhaps most importantly, we note that among all possibilities, our Universe has evolved toward conditions that allow life.
Worksheet (PDF)
Worksheet with solutions (PDF)


Review Materials

Midterm 1--Jeopardy: I did not invent the concept of doing a Jeopardy-style exam review, but I did invent most of these questions. Includes a guide to team scoring. Candy required. (PDF)

Midterm 2: Review worksheet (PDF)
Worksheet with solutions (PDF)

Final Exam Jeopardy: Most of these questions are stolen from Dan Perley's final exam Jeopardy, but I have reorganized them. Slight emphasis on cosmology-related topics. (PDF)

Final Exam Review #1: Matching, true/false, and short-answer questions. Includes some material from early in the course. Answers included. (PDF)

Final Exam Review #2: Short-answer questions, entirely on topics covered after the second midterm. Answers included. (PDF)