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| Department: Physics and Astronomy
Class time and place: MWF, 9:00-9:50 am, Meyer 113
Section: 1 (CRN=20764)
Instructor: Dr. Jason Pinkney
Office hours in 111 Science Annex at these
Instructor's Home page: http://www2.onu.edu/~j-pinkney/
Credit hours: 3
Observatory Phone: 772-4028
This is a
link about solving word problems in general.
1 outline (PDF) (Requires ONU Username & passwd.)
Astronomy has so many subfields that it is impossible to cover
them all in one semester. This course deals mainly with the solar
system (hence "Planetary Astronomy"). Stars, galaxies and
cosmology are covered in PHYS 1061. We begin historically
with man's interpretation of the nighttime sky; the "naked eye universe"
is that which we can see without a telescope. We then look
in detail at the Sun and planets. Space missions, like Cassini
and Messenger, continue to make discoveries about planets and their
Finally the comets, and asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects
are small but important for understanding the early formation
of the solar system. We now have data on over 1000 extrasolar planets
(planets around other stars) which challenge our theories of
solar system formation and evolution.
I have many goals for you in Planetary Astronomy. I want
you to appreciate that facts about the planets (their weather
systems, geology, etc.) can clarify our understanding of our
own Earth and planetary processes in general.
This is called "comparitive planetology".
Math has played a big role in the development of astronomy,
so I would like to challenge you with a few problems every
week. However, your math skills (or lack thereof) will not
have much effect on your grade.
I will make sure that you get a chance to study the sky
directly, using the unaided eye and telescopes, at the
Try to ``keep an eye on the sky" during this course and bring
your questions and news items to class for discussion.
A final goal is for you to see science as distinct from
pseudo-sciences, like astrology, which are rejected by
the scientific method.
PHYS 1051 is tagged
to fulfill a general education outcome (#3)
called 'scientific and quantitative literacy'. One assignment
will also be an 'artifact' showing how this outcome was met.
Students entering ONU on or after Fall 2011 should archive this
artifact with Taskstream .
Today, 7/E (7th Edition) by Chaisson and McMillan.
This text can be rented new or used for big $ savings. You can write in
used rentals without a penalty. New textbooks
are recommended for astronomy minors and others that will save the
book or take all sections of astronomy.
The lab for this class, PHYS 1081 (1 hr), is only taken by astronomy minors.
(You might consider being a minor if your major requires you to take a lot of
physics.) Minors should sign up for this lab and speak with me during
the first week to set up meeting times.
Your attendance at the
ONU Observatory will weigh into the "Observing" portion of your grade (see
below). There will be one class period which meets at the Observatory to
observe the Sun. In addition, you should try to visit at least 3 more times,
for "A" work. There is a legal pad in the control room that you must sign to
get credit. Only about 40% of the nights are clear enough to observe, and the
time of sunset gets progressively earlier. This is why there is no fixed time
to visit. Moreover, I do not open the Observatory every night or even every
clear night. Your strategy must be to watch the weather and call the
Observatory on clear nights to see if it is open. The times I am most
likely to be there are: 1) during Friday evenings 8-10 pm or 9-11 pm for
Public Events (every 2-3 weeks), 2) during Wednesday evenings around
9:30-10:30 pm for ONU Astronomy Club (meets every other Wednesday) and
3) during astronomy lab nights (to be determined). When you visit,
bring along your constellation sheets (see below), and try to get some views
through our telescopes and binoculars. I should be able to get you started
on your constellations, even though my main focus may be on others. You
should bring a friend or two (not necessarily signed up in the class) for
the long, dark walk to and from the Observatory.
Survey of Universe.
PE1* (Comet Jacques)
Universe - the celestial sphere, seasons, etc
eclipses, Copernican Revolution
Rev., Solar System Physics
PE2 (Andromeda Glxy)
and our Sun
PE4 (the Moon)
Solar System Debris
|| PE6 (Geminids)
Final at 9:15-11:15 AM, usual classroom.
* PE = Public
Event (run 8-10 pm on Fridays)
§ Last day to withdraw "W" from a class.
3+ visits to Observatory
in-class worksheets, participation
(drop lowest grade)
be two exams and a final.
Your final letter grade is assigned roughly as follows:
I will not grade
any "harder" than the above. However, if the
class mean drops below about 75, I usually grade more leniently.
Other Course Policies
important for doing well in this course.
Absenteeism can directly lower your grade if you miss a quiz or
activity. Your attendance record can also help boost your grade
if you fall on a grade boundary.
Let me know in advance (e-mail is good) if you plan
to miss for a valid reason (e.g. your team is
road, you are sick, you have a family emergency). If you miss
quiz or exam because of an emergency, let me know as soon as possible,
provide proof of the emergency. "Proof" may consist
name and phone number of some parent or authority figure who knows your
situation. If you miss an in-class worksheet
activity, you should get a copy of the worksheet but you won't
receive credit for that work.
Homework will consist mainly
reading the textbook and writing answers to review questions
from the textbook. A lack of Math ability
will not have a great influence on graded material, but you should try
to improve your problem solving skills during this course.
Homework will receive 50% credit if turned in late. It will be scored
on completeness and correctness, but not every problem will be checked.
You should discuss homework with your classmates, but don't copy
their work verbatim.
Quizzes will be
given on non-exam weeks. They will consist
of about 10 multiple choice/short answer questions. They cover
assigned reading and especially the material discussed in class.
You can only make up a quiz that was missed because of a valid conflict
or emergency. Also, you can only make up the quiz before the
answers are revealed (usually the next period). For this reason, I will
drop your lowest quiz score.
Exams will be given
roughly every 4-5 weeks. These will weigh most heavily towards your
grade. The final exam will be comprehensive, but will emphasize the
last 5-6 weeks of material.
The lab for this
class is Physics 1081. Please sign up for this lab
during the first week ONLY if you are an astronomy minor.
minors have to take PHYS 2311, 2321, 3471, etc.) Otherwise, you
do not need the lab. See the instructor during week 1 to arrange
consists of filling out constellation sheets and visiting the ONU Observatory.
SkyMaps like this will be provided under "NEW STUFF" (4 maps total).
You will have to label the constellations and put a check only in the
constellations that you spotted in the sky. For full credit, you must
visit the observatory at least 3 times. Additional visits give you
extra credit, but only in the "Observing" portion of your grade.
Visiting the Observatory and signing the log will get you credit.
If you are interfering with the learning of the class, or you are
distracting the teacher, you need to stop. Texting and surfing the web
are considered disruptive, so please
put away your phones and laptops at the beginning of
class. Talking during a lecture is disruptive.
Don't arrive too late or leave too early (without an urgent personal
Academic Misconduct Here is the Code of
Academic Student Conduct from the College
University expects its students to conduct themselves in a dignified
and honorable manner as mature members of the academic community and
assumes that individually and collectively they will discourage acts
of academic dishonesty. The University also expects cooperation
among administrators, faculty, staff, and students in preventing acts
of academic dishonesty, in detecting such acts, reporting them, and
identifying those who commit them, and in providing appropriate
punishment for offenders. The University Code of Academic Student
Conduct is found in Appendix C of the Student Handbook:
In PHYS 1051
(this class), the biggest temptation will be to look at
another person's work during tests. Do not wear caps during quizzes or
exams or store information on electronic devices. The penalty for
cheating is a zero score for the quiz or exam.
Calculators I encourage
to use a calculator in this class. A simple calculator will suffice.
Tutoring is available. You
welcome to drop by during my office hours, or you can make an
appointment. I will look for a previous
astronomy student to provide tutoring. The physics
department usually has tutors on Thursday evenings (TBA) in Science