Class Home page:
(Watch this spot for new links, solutions, etc.)
| 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
noon on TR, and 3-4pm on TWR.
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.
Week 1 outline (PDF) (Requires ONU Username & passwd.)
All 4 Sky Maps. (PDF)
Questions: Quiz 1 and Ch. 1 (PDF)
Practice on Powers of 10 - Key
Week 2 PPT material (PDF version).
Celestial Sphere worksheet answers (PDF).
Ch. 1 Homework answers
Week 3 PPT material on the Moon (PDF version).
Questions: Quiz 2 (PDF)
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 Juno,
New Horizons, and the Curiousity rover, continue to make discoveries about
planets and their myriad moons.
Finally the comets, 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 the way that learning facts about a planet (its weather
systems, surface features, etc.) allows us to
generalize about planetary processes, and thus improve
our understanding of our own Earth.
This is called "comparative planetology".
Math has played a big role in the development of astronomy (and vice versa),
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. Please
bring your questions and news items to class for brief discussions
(and extra credit).
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 fulfills the general education learning
outcome #4: 'knowledge of the physical and natural world'.
Astronomy Today, 9/E (9th Edition) by Chaisson and McMillan.
This 2017 edition has a "rent-only" ISBN-13 of 978-0134450278. This is what we
have in the bookstore. Do NOT buy the Volume 1 or 2 versions
("The Solar System" and "Stars and Galaxies").
The lab for this class, PHYS 1081 (1 hr), is mainly intended for
astronomy minors and physics majors with astronomy concentration.
(If you love astronomy but you're not a physics major, consider being an
astronomy minor for niche
careers like science journalism, astrobiology, astrochemistry, and
If you are registered for the lab, expect an email during the first week for
scheduling our meeting times.
Your visits to 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. You should try to visit at least 3 additional times,
for "A" work. There is a legal pad in the control room that you must sign
for credit. Most of the nights are too cloudy to observe, and the
time of sunset gets progressively earlier. This is why there is no fixed
time to visit. Also, I do not open the Observatory 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 for
Public Events (every 2-3 weeks), 2) during Wednesday evenings around
9:30-10:30 pm for ONU Astronomy Club (every other Wednesday) and
3) during astronomy lab nights (TBD). When you visit,
bring along your constellation sheets (see below), and try to get
through our telescopes and binoculars. I should be able to get you started
on your constellations, even though my main focus may be on the event. You
should bring a friend or two (not necessarily enrolled in the class) for
the long, dark walk to the Observatory.
| Week of
|| Observatory opportunities
||Syllabus. Survey of Universe. Powers of 10.
|| PE0* (Welcfest)
|| Naked Eye Universe - the Celestial Sphere
|| Daily, monthly, yearly cycles
|| quiz 1
|| PE1 (Neptune)
||Moon and eclipses
|| PE2 (Equinox)
||Copernican Rev., Solar system physics
|| The Sun
||Radiation and our Sun
||Solar System Overview
|| PE3 (Moon)
||Moon, Mercury, Venus
|| Venus, Mars
|| Exam II
||Jovian planet atmospheres
|| PE5 (Asteroids)
||Jovian planet atmospheres / Moons
||Jovian Moons and Rings
||Pluto and Solar System Debris
|| PE6 (Comet Wirtanen)
||Comprehensive Final at 9:15-11:15 AM, usual classroom.
* PE = Public Event (usually 8-10 pm on Fridays)
§ Last day to withdraw "W" from a class.
|| Constellation sheet, 3+ visits to Observatory
||Homework, in-class worksheets, participation
||Quizzes (drop lowest grade)
||There will 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.
| < 55
Other Course Policies
important for doing well in this course.
Absence can directly lower your grade if you miss a quiz or
in-class activity. Also, I record attendance on many days and
then form a score out of your attendance which factors into
the "In-class" part of your grade.
Let me know in advance (e-mail is good) if you plan
to miss for a valid reason
(e.g. your team is on the
road, you are sick, you have a family emergency).
If you miss a quiz or exam because of an emergency, let me know
as soon as possible, and provide proof of the emergency.
"Proof" may consist of the
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.
will consist mainly of
reading the textbook and writing answers to review questions
from the textbook. Some math problems will also be assigned
from the textbook.
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. After a warning, you'll be docked points.
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 an excused conflict
or emergency. Also, you can only make up the quiz before the
answers are revealed (usually the next class). For this reason, I will
drop your lowest quiz score.
will be given roughly every 4-5 weeks.
These will weigh most heavily towards your class
grade. The final exam will be comprehensive, but will emphasize the
last 5-6 weeks of material.
will be provided to help you prepare for
Quizzes and Exams.
appear under "NEW STUFF". Many of these questions will appear on the
Quizzes and Exams and so it is strongly recommended that you use them to
prepare. More than half of the questions on a given test will be found
in the review.
consists of filling out constellation sheets and visiting the ONU
constellation sheets include 2 maps for 2 dates during the
spring (4 sheets total). Your job is to 1) write the names of the
constellations within the constellation boundaries, and 2) put a check
only in the constellations that you actually spotted in the sky. #1 can be
done on your laptop using a planetarium program. #2 must be done under
open skies, but not necessarily at the ONU Observatory. Try to label at
least 40 unique constellations, and try to spot at least 10 constellations
in the sky. For full observing credit, you must visit the observatory at
least 3 times. Additional visits give you extra credit in the "Observing"
portion of your grade. Visiting the Observatory and signing the log will
get you credit.
You should ask questions during class, and talk during group activities,
otherwise you shouldn't talk while the professor is talking.
Anything that distracts your teacher or your neighbors is hindering
the teaching/learning process. This includes playing with your phones,
laptops or tablets, talking with neighbors, coming to class late, and
leaving class early.
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. Spread out before tests.
Do not wear caps during tests. Do not use phones or electronic devices
to help you. A calculator (not a phone calculator) is acceptable
if it isn't used to store information.
The penalty for cheating is a zero score for the quiz or exam.
You may not receive any warning before your first zero score.
I encourage you to use a calculator in this class.
A simple calculator will suffice.
is available. You are welcome to drop by during my office hours,
or you can make an appointment for another time. I will look for a
previous astronomy student to provide tutoring. The physics
department usually has tutors on Thursday evenings (TBA) in Science