ASTRONOMY 11 (Daytime sections)

COURSE SYLLABUS

 

Course Description:  Observational Astronomy (1 unit)

                                    Meeting times: M-W: 2-3:20pm (CRN 40313).

                                    Meeting times: T-Th: 11am-12:20pm (CRN 40314).

Note: students will be making some observations outside of class, and we will meet off-campus for an evening observing trip—see the class schedule.

Instructor:                  Barry Rice; brice@sierracollege.edu, 916-660-7942. Office: V-322B

Office Hours:             To be announced on first day of class

Meeting Place: All labs meet in ST-2. For the Friday night observing assignment, meet in ST-2 at 7:00 pm to depart to an off-campus observing site. 

Observing Trip: The observing trip is scheduled the dates indicated in the schedule if the weather conditions permit. Only students in Astronomy 11 may attend observing sessions. Your instructor will keep you updated on the status of the observing trip if it looks like the weather will not permit the trip.

Textbook and Materials:

      Text:    A-11 Daytime Lab package and NightWatch (Dickenson, 4th Ed.)                           

      Maps:  SC-001 and SC-002 star charts

      Pencils and erasers

Drop dates: If you decide to stop attending class, is your responsibility to drop the class—the instructor may drop any student who does not show up on the first day, or who has excessive absences.

 

Grading

1.   The final grade in this class is based on total assigned points:

                  A = 90% or more of total points assigned

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

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

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

2.   Each 1-day lab is worth 5 pts. Each 2-day lab is worth 10 pts. Labs grades are based upon the prelab (1 pt per day), and lab performance. You must attend class to earn points for the day or to hand in a lab. Late labs are worth zero points.

3.   There will be one 10-pt quiz (closed book, individually completed), a 20-pt midterm (open book, team completed), and a 40-pt final (open book, team completed). See the semester schedule.

4.   A Sundial Project will be completed (worth 20 pts) as noted on the schedule. No late sundials are accepted.

5.   Our class will go on one observing trip on a Friday night. This trip is worth 20 pts. Obviously, we can only go observing if the sky is clear, so we have scheduled multiple possible dates. If none of the observing nights are clear, the 20-pt observing trip will not contribute to the assigned points in the gradebook. Attending the observing trip is not required to complete the class, but missing the trip will damage your grade. There is no alternative for the observing trip component of the class.

 

 

General Instructor Expectations of Students:  I expect each student to give their best effort in participating in class activities and accomplishing assigned tasks.  I 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 and possible dismissal from Sierra College. Furthermore, drug usage and alcohol consumption during class is prohibited and may result in suspension from class and/or dismissal from Sierra College.

 

Student Expectations of Instructor:  You can expect my best effort in teaching the principles of Astronomy.  I hope to impart a sense of excitement in observing and studying the cosmos.  I am very open to suggestions for topics you wish to discuss or improvements in the course content and/or presentation.

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.

Thank you for electing to take Astronomy 11.  I hope you will learn much and enjoy the subject as much as I do.

Barry Rice

 

 

Course Student Learning Outcomes

 

  1. Students will demonstrate their knowledge and skill in Observational Astronomy, showing that they can correlate the observable sky to events in the cosmos.
  2. Students will explain their knowledge and skill in Celestial Navigation, evaluating the significance of important astronomical phenomena.
  3. Students will operate a variety of Optical Systems, demonstrating proficiency in their use.
  4. Students will relate core concepts in basic science to stellar astronomy, assessing the various factors that are important to stellar evolution.

Course Content Outline:

Familiarization with Day and Night Sky
Use of Planetarium as an Alternate Observing Environment
Use of Simple Measuring Devices, Significant Figures, Error, and Scientific Notation
Use of Small Telescopes and Binoculars
Optical Bench and Optical Parameters
Atlases and Star Maps
Use of a Computer to Make Star Maps and Collect Data
Study of the Moon
Study of the Planets
Study of the Sun and Solar Rotation
Study of Deep Sky Objects
Astrophotography
Measurement of the Speed of Light
Spectrometers and Stellar Chemistry

Computer Links with Remotely Operated Telescopes
Utilizing Telescopes with Digital Coordinate Systems
Statistical Study of Star Distributions
Planning an Observing Session
Study of Binary Stars
Sundial Project or other Special Project
*Only 2/3s of the course content listed is presented in any given semester due to sky and weather conditions.

Student Performance Outcomes:

Through assigned tasks, hands-on activities, computer-simulated exercise, classroom/online discussions, and quizzes/exams, students will*:

Identify from 18 constellations;

Identify and describe the properties of 24 stars;

Locate and describe 20 "deep sky objects" including star clusters, galaxies, nebula, multiple star systems;

Locate planets in the night sky utilizing digital computer software;

Make computations making proper use of significant figures;

Make computations utilizing scientific notation;

Make computations utilizing calculators and digital computers;

Determine the phase of the moon and predict its location on a star map via a computer;

Explain why there are seasons;

Properly set up a small telescope for observations of the night sky;

Compute the magnification power of a telescope;

Compute the light gathering of a variety of telescopes;

Compute the resolving power of a variety of telescopes;

Prepare an observing scenario using a small telescope, binoculars, or unaided eye;

Take pictures of celestial objects using a 35mm camera or Charged Coupled Device in conjunction with a digital computer;

Identify and sketch lunar surface features using a small telescope;

Identify and sketch planetary features using a small telescope;

Observe and sketch the moons of Jupiter;

Use a computer to predict the orientation of the Jovian satellites;

Calculate the orbit/pathway for a spacecraft voyage to another planet using Kepler's laws;

Use a reticle magnifier to measure features on astronomical photographs;

Read a vernier scale;

Use a spectrometer to measure and interpret emission lines and identify chemical elements;

Use a telescopic spectrometer to identify absorption lines;

Classify stellar spectra by observation of absorption lines;

Locate and observe binary star systems utilizing a filar micrometer;

Make an observation of a star's light using a photoelectric photometer;

Plot a light curve and explain the nature an eclipsing binary system;

Properly set up a telescope to safely observe the sun;

Find celestial objects utilizing a celestial atlas;        

Demonstrate proper use of SC-001 (Equatorial Region) and SC-002 (North Circumpolar Region) star maps;

Describe how to utilize a digital computer to generate a star map of selected regions of the sky;

Explain how to utilize a computer to link with remote telescopes to collect astronomical data;

Use an optical bench to determine optical parameters for mirrors and lenses;

Use an oscilloscope and laser to determine the speed of light; and

Construct and explain the operation of a sundial.

*Only 1/3 of the listed outcomes are presented in any given semester due to sky and weather

 


ASTRONOMY 11—Daytime

DRAFT SCHEDULE (Some labs may be shifted, based upon the weather)

 

Week/Date

M-W activities

T-Th Activities

Reading1

Observing

Notes

Week 1

23-27 Jan

Enrollment

Lab 10

Enrollment

Lab 10

Preface

Ch 1

 

 

---

---

Week 2

30 Jan-3 Feb

Lab 10

Lab 11

Lab 10

Lab 11

---

Ch2

 

 

---

---

Week 3

6-10 Feb

Lab 11

Lab 12

Lab 11

Lab 12

Ch3

Ch4

 

 

---

---

Week 4

13-17 Feb

Lab 12

Lab 21/Lab 52 prep

Lab 12

Lab 21/Lab 52 prep

Ch5

---

 

 

---

No prelab for Lab 52 needed

Week 5

20-24 Feb

---Holiday---

Lab 22

Lab 36

Lab 22

Ch6

---

M-W class, trip #1

---

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 6

27 Feb-3 Mar

Lab 35, Quiz

Lab 35

Lab 35, Quiz

Lab 35

Ch7

---

T-Th class, trip #1

Closed book quiz, no partners

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 7

6-10 Mar

Lab 23

Lab 23

Lab 23

Lab 23

Ch8

---

 

---

---

Week 8

13-17 Mar

Lab 31

Lab 31

Lab 31

Lab 31

Ch9

---

Fall-back observing #1

---

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 9

20-24 Mar

Midterm

Lab 36

Midterm

--no class--

---

Ch10

Fall-back observing #2

Open notes, work with your table

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 10

27-31 Mar

Lab 32

Lab 32

Lab 32

Lab 32

---

Ch11

 

---

---

Week 11

3-7 Apr

Lab 34

Lab 34

Lab 34

Lab 34

Ch12

---

 

---

---

10-14 Apr

Spring Break

Spring Break

---

 

---

Week 12

17-21 Apr

Lab 51 intro

Lab 33

Lab 51 intro

Lab 33

---

---

Fall-back observing #3

Extra credit Labs 61, 62 discussed

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 13

24-28 Apr

Lab 33

Lab 37

Lab 33

Lab 37

---

---

Fall-back observing #4

---

Bring Lab 52 on observing trip

Week 14

1-5 May

Lab 54 or Lab 38

Lab 38 or Lab 54

Lab 54 or Lab 38

Lab 38 or Lab 54

---

---

 

 

Lab 54 if clear, both prelabs due

Lab 54 if first day was cloudy---

Week 15

8-12 May

Lab 51 presentations

Final prep/XC due

Lab 51 presentations

Final prep/XC due

---

---

 

---

Handout given in class, no prelab

Week 16

15-19 May

Final Exam

---

Final Exam

---

---

---

 

Open notes, work with your table

---

1All reading assignments should be completed by the beginning of this class session.

 

Notes on Observing Days

When you go observing, bring a pencil, Lab 52, something to write on, and lots of warm clothes.

The M-W class will first attempt to go observing on the Friday scheduled as “M-W class, trip #1”, and the T-Th class will first attempt to go observing on the Friday scheduled as “T-Th class, trip #1.”

The fall-back observing dates will only be used if either or both classes are clouded out. If only one class is clouded out, the other class will try to go on each successive observing trip. If both groups are clouded out, they will alternate in their attempts to go observing.