Astro 120: Fall 2017 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 the free online textbook Open Stax: Astronomy.

DateNumberTopicReading Homework
Aug. 22 1 Overview: Our Universe, Solar System, and Species Chapter 1
24 2 The Cosmic Fishbowl - celestial coordinates and motions Chapter 2, Sect. 2.1
Chapter 4, Sect. 4.1
HW 1
29 3 The apparent motion of the Sun; Time Chapter 4, Sect. 4.3
31 4 The motion of the Sun; the seasons; the Moon and its Phases Chapter 4, Sect. 4.2 HW 2
 
Sept. 55 The Moon's orbit. Lunar Eclipses Chapter 4, Sect. 4.5 and 4.6
7 6 Solar eclipses; ancient astronomy Chapter 4, Sect. 4.6, 4.4
Chapter 2, Sect. 2.2
HW 3
12 7 Planetary Motions, and history to Tycho Chapter 2, Sect. 2.2 and 2.4
14 8 Tycho, Galileo, Kepler, to Newton Chapter 2, Sect. 2.4
Chapter 3, Sect. 3.1
HW 4
19 9 Newton Chapter 3, Sect. 3.2-3.4
21 10 Rocket Science! Chapter 3, Sect. 3.5
JPL Web page on transfer orbits
26 EXAM 1
28 11 Overall properties of our solar system; planetary interiors Chapter 7, Sect. 7.1-7.2 HW 5
 
Oct. 3 12 Planetary Surfaces I - Physical Processes Chapter 7, Sect. 7.3
Chapter 8, Sect. 8.2
Chapter 9, Sect. 9.3
5 13 Planetary Surfaces II - Ages of surfaces, and the Moon Chapter 7, Sect. 7.3
Chapter 9, Set. 9.2
HW 6
10 14 The surfaces of the terrestrial planets: Moon, Mercury, and Venus Chapter 9, Sect. 9.4-9.5
Chapter 10, Sect. 10.1-10.2
12 15 Mars Chapter 10, Sect. 10.4-10.5 HW 7
17 16 Atmospheres of the inner planets, and global warming on Earth Chapter 8, Sect. 8.3-8.4
Chapter 10, Sect. 10.3
19 17 Giant Planets I: Interiors and atmospheres Chapter 11 HW 8
24 18 Giant Planets II: Phenomena, tides, and rings Chapter 4, Sect. 4.6
Chapter 12, Sect. 12.5
2619 Icy Satellites, Pluto(ids), and KBOs Chapter 12, Sect. 12.1-12.4
Chapter 13, Sect. 13.4
HW 9
3120 Asteroids and meteorites: remnants of the origin of our solar system Chapter 13, Sect. 13.1-13.3
Chapter 14, Sect. 14.1-14.2
 
Nov. 2 21 Comets and their origins Chapter 13, Sect. 13.3-13.4
7EXAM 2
9 22 Planetary collisions: past, present and future Chapter 8, Sect. 8.4-8.5
14 23 Astrology and pseudoscience Chapter 2, Sect. 2.3 and
web reading
16 24 The Sun: our "ordinary" star Chapter 15, Sect. 15.1-15.3
Chapter 16, (briefly)
HW 10
21, 23 THANKSGIVING
28 25 The origin of our solar system Chapter 21, Sect. 21.1, 21.3
30 26 Other planetary systems Chapter 21, Sect. 21.4-21.6
 
Dec. 527 Life in the Universe I: Searching for life beyond Earth Chapter 30, Sect. 30.4, 30.1-30.2
7 28 Life in the Universe II: Searching for other intelligent life; Conclusions Chapter 30, Sect. 30.3-30.4