Syllabus-Astro

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ASTRONOMY: August 28 Dec 9, 2013

Demetris Nicolaides, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Office hours: 11-12, 5-6 Monday, 3-4 Tuesday. Also by appointment.

Phone:  973-748-9000 ext. 1321

Email:  demetris_nicolaides@bloomfield.edu

TEXTBOOK: Fraknoi, Morrison & Wolff VOYAGES THROUGH THE UNIVERSE, 3nd Ed.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introductory course in astronomy which explains how physical laws prescribe natural processes in the universe. Includes discussions on the motion, composition and evolution of the planets, stars and interstellar matter. Also, examines the structure and evolution of the universe using the Big Bang theory. Some lab is an integral part of this course. This course fulfills the one course unit requirement in a laboratory science.

PRIMARY COMPETENCY OF THE COURSE:

Scientific and Technological Skills: 

The awareness of advances in science and technology and the ethical and social understanding of the implications of these advances; the understanding of quantitative analysis, scientific methodology and concepts; the development of research skills; and the awareness of the general functions, capabilities, and impact of technology.

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

1. Perform an experiment to test a scientific hypothesis using the techniques of scientific investigation.

2. Interpret the results of a scientific investigation.

METHODS OF TEACHING: Lectures with hands-on demonstrations, computer simulations, problem solving sessions and labs.

WEB: As an additional learning tool, use my home-page where among other things you will find the Lessons for the course.

HOMEWORK: Homework problems and reading are assigned for each chapter. Students should make an honest effort to read all required chapters as well as the Lessons on the web. For the exams, students are responsible for all reading (from the book and the web) as well as all material covered in class.

 

EXAMS: There will be 4 written exams given during the course of the semester, the lowest grade of which will be dropped. An exam which is missed corresponds to the grade zero. There will be no make-up exams. After the lowest grade is dropped, the average of the remaining exams will count for 60% of the final course grade. 

FINAL EXAM: There will be a final exam which may be comprehensive, and will count for 30% of the final course grade.

LABORATORY: At least four labs from the following:

Compass directions of celestial bodies

Angular height of celestial bodies

Locating planets

Locating stars

Seasons

Sun, the ecliptic and seasons

Phases of the Moon

The properties of Polaris

Constellations

Properties of light

Gravity

Formal lab reports are required for each of the labs performed in the laboratory. A lab report will be accepted only if the student does the experiment. These reports will be collected and graded.  If not submitted on the required time, points will be taken off. The average grade of the reports will count for the 10% of the final course grade.

Lab report format: OBJECTIVE, (1 sentence), DATA (in tables), DATA ANALYSIS, (which among other things includes graphs, calculations, and answers to questions), and the CONCLUSION (small paragraph addressing the objective). Reports must be prepared with the help of various computer software such as Word or Excel.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance in class is mandatory. Students with 3 or more absences are eligible only up to an A-. Students with 5 or more absences are eligible only up to a B-. Students with 6 or more absences are eligible up to a C-. A student participating in a College-approved activity may be excused from class. "Approved" means an activity approved by an officer of the College (President, Dean). Lateness or early departure may count as an absence.

IN SUMMARY:

Exams        60%

Lab            10%

Final          30%

The final course grade is determined by first finding the average of each grade category (Exam, Lab, Final) rounded to the nearest integer, and then averaging these averages (according to their assigned percentage) also rounded to the nearest integer. Assuming there is no issue with attendance, the numerical value of the final course grade will correspond to a letter grade as follows:

A: 96-100        A-: 90- 95        B+ :  87-89       B: 83-86          B-: 80-82

C+: 77-79         C: 73-76      C- : 70-72            D+: 67-69        D: 63-66          D-:60-62          F: 0-59

 

WEEK OF

 

SUBJECT

 

READING & HOMEWORK

 

Aug 28 (Th only)

 

Ch 1: Observing the sky

(Lesson 1)

 

Ch 1

(Lesson 1)

 

Sep 2 (no M)

 

Ch 1: Observing the sky

(Lesson 1)

 

Ch 1

(Lesson 1)

 

Sep 9

 

 

Ch 2: Orbits and gravity

(Lesson 2)

 

Ch 2

(Lesson 2)

 

Sep 16

 

Ch 3: Earth, Moon and sky

(Lesson 3)

 

Ch 3: 2, 5, 8, 9, 11

(Lesson 3)

 

Sep 23 (exam 1)

 

 

Ch 4: Radiation and Spectra

(Lesson 4)

 

Ch 4: 1, 4, 5, 8, 20

(Lesson 4)

 

Sep 30

 

Ch 4: Radiation and Spectra

(Lesson 4)

 

Ch 4

(Lesson 4)

 

Oct 7

 

 

Ch 6: Other worlds: an introduction to the solar system

(Lessons 5, 6)

 

Ch 6: 3, 4, 5, 6

 

(Lessons 5, 6)

 

Oct 14 (exam 2)

 

Ch 13: Cosmic samples and the origin of the solar system

(Lessons 5, 6)

 

Ch 13: 3, 5, 10, 16, 17

(Lessons 5, 6)

 

Oct 21

 

Ch 15: The Sun: a nuclear powerhouse

(Lesson 7)

 

Ch 15

(Lesson 7)

 

Oct 28

 

 

Ch 15: The Sun: a nuclear powerhouse

(Lesson 7)

 

Ch 15

(Lesson 7)

 

Nov 4 (exam 3)

 

Ch 17.4: H-R diagrams

Ch 20.1: Star formation

(Lesson 8)

 

Ch 17.4

Ch 20.1

(Lesson 8)

 

Nov 11

Th = lesson 9

 

Ch 21: Stars: from adolescence to old age

Ch 22: The death of stars

(Lesson 9)

 

Ch 21

Ch 22

(Lesson 9)

 

Nov 18

T = finish lesson 9

Th = The Elegant Universe

 

Ch 21: Stars: from adolescence to old age

Ch 22: The death of stars

(Lesson 9)

 

Ch 21

Ch 22

(Lesson 9)

 

Nov 25 (exam 4)

(only M and T

Th is Thanksgiving)

 

Ch 23.5 and 23.6: Black holes

and curved space-time

(Lesson 9)

 

Ch 23.5 and Ch 23.6

(Lesson 9)

 

Dec 2

T, Th = lesson 10

 

Ch 25.5 The Expanding Universe

Ch 28: The Big Bang

(Lesson 10)

 

Ch 25.5

Ch 28

(Lesson 10)

 

Dec 9 (only M, week of final exams)

 

Final Exams

 

Final Exams