Astro 120: Spring 2016 Course Outline

This outline below give the tentative schedule of lectures for this term. The approximate dates for each lecture are indicated. Keep in mind that we reserve the right to flexibility and will not strictly adhere to this schedule! This allows us to cover some subjects in greater or lesser detail as new discoveries are made during the term. Readings are in the Pearson Custom Library textbook Astronomy: Customized for Astro 120: The Sky and Solar System(s).

DateNumberTopicReading Homework
Jan. 12 1 Overview: Our Universe, Solar System, and Species Ch. 1, Sec. 1 and 2
14 2 The Cosmic Fishbowl - celestial coordinates and motions Ch. 1, Sec. 3
Ch. 2. Sec. 1
HW 1
19 3 The apparent motion of the Sun; Time Ch. 2, Sec. 1
21 4 The motion of the Sun; the seasons; the Moon and its Phases Ch. 2, Sec. 2, 3 HW 2
26 5 The Moon's orbit. Lunar Eclipses Ch. 2, Sec. 3
28 6 Solar eclipses; ancient astronomy Ch. 2, Sec. 3, 4 HW 3
 
Feb. 2 7 Planetary Motions, and history to Tycho Ch. 2, Sec. 4
Ch. 3, Sec. 1-2
4 8 Tycho, Galileo, Kepler, to Newton Ch. 3, Sec. 3 HW 4
9 9 Newton Ch. 4, Sect. 2, 4
11 10 Rocket Science! Ch. 4, Sec. 1
JPL Web page on transfer orbits
Ch. 5, Sec. 3
16 EXAM 1
18 11 Overall properties of our solar system; planetary interiors Ch. 5, Sec. 1,2
Ch. 7, Sec. 1
HW 5
23 12 Planetary Surfaces I - Physical Processes Ch. 7, Sec. 2, 6
25 13 Planetary Surfaces II - Ages of surfaces, and the Moon Ch. 7, Sec. 2, 3
Ch. 6, Sec. 3
HW 6
 
March 1 14 The surfaces of the terrestrial planets: Moon, Mercury, and Venus Ch. 7, Sec. 3, 5
3 15 Mars Ch. 7, Sec. 4 HW 7
8 16 Atmospheres of the inner planets, and global warming on Earth Ch. 8, Sec. 1, 3-6
10 17 Giant Planets I: Interiors and atmospheres Ch. 9, Sec. 1 HW 8
17, 19 Spring Break!
22 18 Giant Planets II: Phenomena, tides, and rings Ch. 4, Sec. 5
Ch. 9, Sec. 3
2419 Icy Satellites, Pluto(ids), and KBOs Ch. 9, Sec. 2
Ch. 10, Sec. 3
HW 9
2920 Asteroids and meteorites: remnants of the origin of our solar system Ch. 10, Sec. 1
31 21 Comets and their origins Ch. 10, Sec. 2
 
April 5EXAM 2
7 22 Planetary collisions: past, present and future Ch. 10, Sec. 4
12 23 Astrology and pseudoscience Ch. 3, Sec. 5, and
web reading
14 24 The Sun: our "ordinary" star Ch. 11 HW 10
19 25 The origin of our solar system Ch. 6, Sec. 1-2
21 26 Other planetary systems Ch. 12
26 27 Life in the Universe I: Searching for life beyond Earth Ch. 13, Sec. 4, 1-3
 
28 28 Life in the Universe II: Searching for other intelligent life; Conclusions Ch. 13, Sec. 4-5