AST 1210: INTRODUCTION TO THE SKY AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM

SPRING 2015


Introductory Comments


Course website: www.astro.virginia.edu/ae3f/AST1210
Course materials, announcements, and lecture notes will be made available on the AST 1210 course website.

Instructor: Prof. Aaron Evans, 530 McCormick Road, Room 229, 434-924-4896, aevans@virginia.edu.
Office hours: M, 1:00-3:00pm.

Prerequisites: None. This course is designed for the student with little or no training in science. A reasonable background would include the usual high school chemistry course, although with a little effort even that may not be necessary.


Course Structure: Lectures will be given three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:00-10:50AM in Clark 107

Grading: Grades will be based on


Tests: All exams will be non-cumulative. They will be based on the material covered since the previous exam. The format of the exams will be multiple choice. A week before each exam, you have the option of submitting sample test questions to me - I will select some of these questions for the exam.

These sample test questions will be the only form of extra credit in the course. Requests for additional extra credit assignments will not be entertained.

Note that the use of electronic devices (including, but not limited to, calculators, cellular phones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, and pagers) during tests is strictly forbidden. All materials you bring into the room must be put on the floor under your seat during the examination.

The FINAL EXAM will be on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Take-home quizzes: Are designed to have students calculate various quantities discussed in class. Such calculations will give the students a better mathematical feel of class concepts.

Laboratory Exercises: You will be required to complete two labs this semester, the Constellation Lab and the Telescope Observing Lab. Constellation Lab: This lab consists of learning the names and locations of the brightest stars and constellations, completing a worksheet, and passing a short quiz. The lab can be completed in a single night, and you may repeat it to earn a higher grade.
Telescope Observing: In this lab you will attend a single observing session at the Leander McCormick Observatory and sketch at least three objects as seen through the telescopes.
See the Lab Information page for dates and times. You must sign up for an observing session in advance.


Textbook: The Cosmic Perspective, Seventh Edition, by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit, published by Addison Wesley. This book is required. Note that lecture material overrides textbook material when there are differences in content.

We will follow the text rather closely for most of the course. Additional updated material will be added in where needed. In the examinations you will be responsible for the material covered in the text as well as that presented in the lectures, whether or not it appears in the text.

Note that the Clicker, Mastering Astronomy, and Starry Night are not required for this course.


Courtesy: Students are expected to show respect towards their fellow students. Cellular phones and pagers should be turned off during class. Students engaging in disruptive behavior (including loud talking) will be asked to leave. Students should arrive on time, and not leave before the class is ended.


Honor Code : All activities done as part of your grade for this class are bound by the honor code.

Special Needs: If anyone has a condition which will make it difficult for them to carry out the work as outlined above or which will require extra time on exams, please let me know in the first week or so of class so that appropriate arrangements can be made.


Tentative Calendar

Week of Chptr Topic
Jan 12 Curiosity
1 Our Place in the Universe
Jan 21 1 Our Place in the Universe
2 Discovering the Universe for Yourself
Jan 26 2 Discovering the Universe for Yourself
3 The Science of Astronomy
Feb 2 3 The Science of Astronomy
4 Understanding Motion, Energy and Gravity
Feb 9 4 Understanding Motion, Energy and Gravity
5 Light and Matter
Feb 16 14 The Sun
Feb 16 - Exam 1
Feb 23 14 The Sun
15 & 17 Stellar Evolution
March 2 6 Telescopes
7 & 8 Formation of the Solar System
March 16 12.1 Meteorites & Asteroids
12.2,12.3 Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects
March 23 9.3 The Moon
9 Interior Structure of the Terrestrial Planets
March 30 April 3 - Exam 2
10 The Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets
April 6 10 The Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets
9 & 10 Mercury & Venus
April 13 9 & 10 Mars
11 The Jovian Planets
April 20 10 The Jovian Moons
13 Extrasolar Planets
Final Exam - Saturday, May 2, 9am - 12pm




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