ASTRONOMY 10 - Summer Session


Course Description:     Elementary Astronomy (3 units), Lecture Course - General principles and the fundamental facts of astronomy. Designed primarily for students not majoring in a physical science or mathematics. (Advisory: English 50 or equivalent)

                                       To satisfy laboratory science requirement, enroll in Astronomy 11 or equivalent.

Instructors:                   Dave Kenyon, Alvaro Demarzi   

Office:                            Rooms  S204 (Kenyon), ST-2 (Demarzi)  

Campus Extension:      Kenyon (x7911, 916-660-7911)

                                       Demarzi  (916-834-2474)

E-mail:                           Kenyon (, Demarzi (

Office Hours:                The hour before class begins or by appointment

Sections & Codes:         60324: Kenyon, meets Tue-Thu from 10:15 AM to 12:20 PM

                                       60469: Demarzi, meets Tue-Thu from 6:00 PM to 8:05 PM


Activity Periods:           Each class day is broken into two periods, Period 1 and Period 2, which are separated by a break period. The duration of each period depends on the activity (lecture, third-hour, exams/quizzes) and the Session (A or B).

What is a “Third-Hour”?  Astronomy 10 is a 3-unit lecture course, which for most fall/spring semester 3-unit courses usually means that you attend 3 hours of lecture during a given semester week. However, in Astronomy 10, you attend 2 hours of lecture and a third hour in “Third-Hour” (and hence its name), where the majority of time is spent working on a variety of hands-on activities (there are a few videos as well). Be sure to always attend Third-Hour prepared with your required text and charts/maps, calculator, paper, and pencils/pens.

VERY IMPORTANT: It is the responsibility of the student (Not the instructor!!!) to add or drop a class. The instructor may drop a student for excessive absences, but then again, maybe not. Check your Schedule of Classes for the drop date deadline. Also, if you switch Astronomy Lecture Sections, you must complete a Change-of-Program Form and submit it to the Admission and Records Office with the proper instructor signatures.

General Instructor Expectations of Students: We expect each student to give his or her best effort in participating in class activities and accomplishing assigned tasks. We expect students to adhere to their behavior responsibilities as detailed in the Sierra College Student Handbook. Cheating, plagiarism, or any other forms of dishonesty are considered grounds for an immediate course grade of F (with academic dishonesty) and possible dismissal from Sierra College. Finally, you are expected to adhere to the Policies and Procedures given in this syllabus.

Student Expectations of Instructor: You can expect our best effort in teaching the principles of astronomy. We hope to impart in our students a sense of excitement in observing and studying nature’s show in the cosmos. We are very open to suggestions for topics that students wish to discuss or improvements in the course content and/or presentation. If you are experiencing severe difficulty with a particular instructor, bring your concerns to the attention of the Science and Math Division Dean.

Student Safety:  All students should be aware of the proper procedures under emergency conditions in the classroom or building. This awareness includes how and where to meet during an evacuation, and location and use of the building first aid kit, fire extinguishers, and phones.

Textbook and Materials (Buy now at the Campus Book Store):

      Required Text:                  The Essential Cosmic Perspective, Latest Edition, by Jeffrey Bennett, Megan Donahue, Nicholas Schneider, and Mark Voit

      Required Handbook:        Sierra College Astronomy 10 Student Handbook, Latest Edition

      Required Web Access:      Mastering Astronomy (

      Required Maps:                 Star Maps (Constellation Charts) SC-001 and SC-002

      Required Chart:                The Current Year’s Sky Gazer’s Almanac

      Optional CD/Software:     Starry Night Pro, Version 3.1

      Optional Equipment:         The Night Sky Planisphere (5 cardboard or plastic) by David Chandler

      Optional Study Guide:     Astronomy Quick Study Guide by BarCharts, Inc.


Astronomy Department and Text Web Sites

The Astronomy Department maintains a web site with a variety of features. Of particular interest to Astronomy 10 students will be the availability of lecture notes, class handouts, Third-Hour exercises and answer keys, detailed scores for all completed exercises, and current grades. Use for the web address of the department homepage and then select the Astronomy 10 hyperlink to access information related to this course. Friendly warning: Periodically check your assignment scores for accuracy; report any errors to your lecture instructor.

The course text has a companion web site at All students must register on this web site in order to complete homework assignments and the “Take-Home” Midterm. Before you register, you will need an Access Code (supplied with a new text or purchased at the Mastering Astronomy web site), a Mastering Astronomy Course ID (to be given to you by your instructor during the first week of classes), and a Mastering Astronomy Student ID (also to be given to you by your instructor during the first week of classes).

Besides being the place to work on homework assignments, the Mastering Astronomy web site also has a few very valuable resources to help students improve their proficiency in astronomy. For example, in the “Study Area” there are “Interactive Figures”, “Movies”, and “Flashcards”.

All Sierra College students automatically receive accounts in the online BlackBoard environment (see for details) and all Sierra College courses are linked to BlackBoard. However, the Astronomy Department currently does not yet have a uniform policy with regard to the use of BlackBoard for its course content; individual instructors may or may not activate BlackBoard for their individual sections (a possible use of BlackBoard would be the “Discussion Board” and “Chat” features that would allow students to collaborate on assignments).

Finally, there is a bulletin board area dedicated to Astronomy 10 just outside the planetarium. General announcements and selected handouts, answer keys, and gradesheets will be posted in this area. Students are expected to check this area on a regular basis.

Grading and Attendance

1.   The final grade in this class is based on total "assigned" points (500):

                  A = 90% or more of total points assigned (= 450)

                  B = 80% or more, but less than 90%, of total points assigned (= 400)

                  C = 70% or more, but less than 80%, of total points assigned (= 350)

                  D = 60% or more, but less than 70%, of total points assigned (= 300)

2.   A two-part 100-point Midterm Exam will be given at the times shown on the General Schedule of Activities. A Star Quiz worth 30 points and a three-part Final Exam worth 110 points will be given during the last two days of class.

3.   During lectures, “ Quizzes” may be given and are based on material presented during the lectures. These quizzes are worth 5 to 15 points each and you must be in attendance to participate. See the General Schedule of Activities for scheduling.

4.   Third-Hour exercises are worth 5 points each while homework exercises are worth 10 points. There are more questions on these exercises than are graded. A pseudo-random process is used to determine which questions are graded. See the General Schedule of Activities for the exact due dates.

5.   Extra Credit may be earned for special activities described on the Extra Credit Options sheet. Any single extra credit activity may earn no more than 5 points. The maximum number of points for extra credit during the semester is 25 points. Ten of this total must be completed by the Midterm with the remainder due by the Final. See the General Schedule of Activities for the exact due dates.

6.   Bonus point quizzes or exercises may be given at the instructor's discretion. These points, like extra credit can only enhance your grade. You have to be in attendance to receive any bonus points the instructor may assign. Also, each homework exercise has two bonus questions. You may do either, but not both, of these questions for a bonus point on a given homework exercise.

7.   The maximum points a student may earn through extra credit and bonus is 50.

8.   A student may be dropped from class for excessive absences. See the Sierra College catalog for the definition of excessive absences.


Policies and Procedures

1.   Tests and quizzes cannot be made up. If a problem exists, notify your lecture instructor before the test/quiz date. However, even with prior notification, an instructor is not obliged to extend any test/quiz deadline. In addition, instructors reserve the right to refuse student admission to a test/quiz for excessive tardiness (defined as more than 5 minutes after the test/quiz begins).

2.   Late homework exercises are not accepted under any conditions. These exercises are due by 11:59 pm (just before midnight), Wednesday and Friday of the week they are assigned (see the General Schedule of Activities for the exact dates). Homework exercises are completed in the MasteringAstronomy environment.

3.   Third-Hour exercises are to be completed and handed to the instructor within the class period that the exercise is scheduled (see the General Schedule of Activities for the exact dates).

4.   Students must be on time for third-hour. The instructor reserves the right to refuse student admission to class for excessive tardiness (defined as more than 5 minutes after class starts).

5.   An instructor may penalize students up to 20 points for non-participation in a third-hour class with the severity of the penalty being in direct proportion to the severity of the non-participation.

6.   Students are expected to check the grading accuracy of their exams/quizzes, exercises, and bonus/extra credit. Students are also expected to check their posted grades for accuracy. Students are given one week (7 days) after a given deadline to bring any errors to the attention of the instructor. Under no circumstances will grade accuracy be discussed after the final grade-reporting deadline established by the Sierra College Admissions and Records office. This deadline is usually set in the week after the last class.







7.   Examples of behavior subject to a grade F with academic dishonesty:

·         The use of answer keys from previous semesters

·         Passing/receiving answers to/from students taking third-hour classes at a another time

·         The use or visible proximity of any electrical or related device during exams/quizzes

·         The use of “crib sheets” written on anything, including your skin, rubber bands, etc.



You will be provided an information card on the 1st day of class. Give this card to the instructor before leaving class on the first day. Make a note of the 4-DIGIT NUMBER on the card and write it down in your text or notebook. This is your Astronomy course ID number and will be used to record and post your scores throughout the summer session.

Thank you for electing to take Astronomy 10. We hope you will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of astronomy and enjoy the subject as much as we do.

The Sierra College Astronomy Department Staff