ASTRO 250: Astronomy Bizarre, Spring 2014
- Time and Room: MWF 2:10, Physics 58
- Instructor: Dr. Steve Kawaler
- Office: A323 Physics Addition
- Phone: 4-9728
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office Hours:
Feel free to stop by for individual help or discussions at any time, or call for an appointment to be sure I'm around.
The Astro 250 website can be found at:
This site contains some course notes, the course outline, and links to
various Web sites of relevance to the course material. Plan on visiting it
very often. Your suggestions (and help!) on how to best use the Web to
enhance this course are most welcome.
Assigned readings will be made using magazine articles, journal articles, and
WWW--based sources, links to which will be posted on the course website. The
print articles are almost excluslively available in electronic form through
the Library - I will provide links through the
Blackboard site for this class.
Media: In addition to readings above, another source of background material will
come from listening to astronomy-based radio broadcasts and
podcasts, and web-based video programs. Links or other information needed to access these online
sources will be
provided in class and on the website.
*** You are responsible for completing the assigned readings (or listening/viewing) in a
timely manner - i.e. before the material is discussed in class. ***
There is no single book that is designed for a course such as Astro 250. As
a result, you are not required to buy any!
If you still have
the textbook from Astro 120 or 150 that could be a very helpful background resource.
Still, here is a list of several books that you may find
helpful as study guides; they are genuinely good books that
deserve a permanent place on your bookshelf. Some of them may be available
at local bookstores. Most of them (those that are still in print) are easily
available through online sources.
Astro 250 is, intentionally, a "small-enrollment" class. This is to allow a
more interactive learning experience than is possible in Astro 120 or 150.
This means that the success of the class depends in no small part on your
efforts to learn, evaluate, and discuss the material. To that end, we will
have a number of demonstrations, computer exercises, brief quizzes, and
homework assignments. In addition to grading of materials handed in, this 30%
component of your grade will also be affected by participation in class
- 2 in-class exams (each worth 20% of the final grade)
Tentative in-class exam dates: March 6 and April 17
- Final Exam (worth 25 % of the final grade).
- Term Project (worth 5 % of the final grade, see below)
- In-class performance (worth 30 % of the final grade): homeworks and
Zooniverse: Some classwork will require you to participate in "citizen science"
work, so you'll need to register for an account with Zooniverse
A term project is a component of Astro 250. Since it only accounts for 5%
of your final grade, this term project is not designed to be a time-consuming
affair. We will have more to say about the project later in the semester,
but you should think about how to tie your own interests in with the subject
matter of the course within the context of a term project.
Observing sessions (a.k.a. star parties):
We will have one or two evening observing opportunities in this course, allowing
us to meet informally and enjoy the simple pleasures of looking at the night
sky. Specific dates will be discussed in class.
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a
disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please
Disability Resources Office at 294-6624 in room 1076, Student
Services Building to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with
The University has strict rules regarding academic integrity (a.k.a.
cheating). See pages 45-46 of your ISU Catalog (available online
While we encourage collaborative learing in Astro 250, we
also expect each student to accurately present his or her own work on
assignments and exams. Copying, plagiarism, and other forms of academic
dishonesty will not be tolerated.
Astro 250 homepage