ASTRONOMY 1210 (O'CONNELL) SPRING 2014

INTRODUCTION TO THE SKY AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM


Planets


SCHEDULE, OUTLINE, AND READING ASSIGNMENTS


The dates below represent the approximate start of each topic and reading assignment. You should have done all the reading for a given topic before the start of the next one. All dates are tentative, except for the final exam. Assignments are given in brackets; numbers refer to chapters in The Cosmic Perspective by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit (6th edition, 2010). There will be a special (outside of regular class-time) review session covering topics requested by the class before each exam (not listed).

Detailed reading assignments and notes for each lecture are given on the 23 Study Guides.



1/13: First class meeting: Orientation
 
1/15: Introduction. Astronomy as a science. Scale of the universe in space and time. The night sky. Prehistoric astronomy. [CH 1, 2, 3.1; Supplement I]
1/20: MLK Holiday: no class


2/5: Discovery of the Solar System. Early scientific astronomy. Copernicus to Newton. Gravity and planetary orbits. [CH 3, 4]


2/17: Tools for Modern Astronomy. Modern science and technology. The nature of light. The electromagnetic spectrum. Atomic structure. Spectroscopy. Telescopes. The space program and space astronomy. [Supplements II, III; Optional: CH 5, 6]


FIRST MIDTERM EXAM: Wednesday, 19 February
Coverage: Introduction through EM spectrum.


2/26: Planetary Systems: ours and others Inventory & systematics of the solar system. Formation of the solar system. Discovery of other planetary systems. Properties of exoplanets. [CH 7, 8, 13]


3/3: Earth and Moon. Earth as a planet. Earth's age, composition, interior. The Apollo missions. The lunar surface. The violent formation and early history of the Moon. [CH 9, 10]


[Spring Break: 10 - 14 March]


3/19: The Terrestrial Planets. Mercury, Venus, Mars. Evolution of terrestrial atmospheres. The MESSENGER, Magellan, Viking, Pathfinder, Rover, & Curiosity missions. [CH 9, 10]


SECOND MIDTERM EXAM: Wednesday, 2 April
Coverage: spectroscopy through Mars.


4/7:Lowell's Legacy: ET's. Life on Mars? "War of the Worlds". UFO's. [War of the Worlds]


Deadline for extra credit assignments with full credit: Friday, 11 April



4/14: The Outer Planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Satellites. The Voyager, Galileo, & Cassini missions. Kuiper Belt Objects. [CH 11, 12.3]


4/21: Interplanetary Matter. Asteroids, comets, meteors. Collisions with Earth and biological extinctions. [CH 12]


Deadline for all extra credit assignments: Friday, 25 April, 5 PM


4/28: Life in the Universe. Evolution of life on Earth. Other biospheres in the solar system? In the galaxy? Search for alien civilizations. [CH 13, 24]


Last Constellation Quiz: Tuesday, 29 April


FINAL EXAM: Saturday, 3 May, 2 - 4 PM



SKY EVENTS THIS SEMESTER

For more details, see the Sky and Telescope ``This Week's Sky'' Web Page


Sky looking south at 8 PM on 20 February 2014; from Heavens Above.


Last modified January 2014 by rwo

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