Astronomy 1: Introductory Astronomy
Prof. David Cohen
Tu., Th. 9:55 to 11:10
Click on each image for more information about these objects.
updated Mar. 3
Solutions to homework #6 will be posted, below, at 5pm today (Monday). You might want to look these over as you're studying for tomorrow's midterm. This homework will not be handed back prior to the midterm. Note that all other homework solutions are posted in the same paragraph block as the assignments themselves. If you haven't handed in HW#6 yet, you can still get partial credit if you hand it in by 5pm today. Once the solutions are posted, I will not be accepting late homework.
Check the midterm information posted below. Since it was posted, there have been two small updates to the equation sheet. Also, I've fielded a couple of questions from students. In the Assignments section, I've posted a list of updates and answers to student questions.
updated Mar. 1
Office hours for the week are now posted, to the right. Note two sets of office hours on Monday. Midterm info and reading for Thursday are posted below, in the Assignments section.
updated Mar. 6
Look over the large number of slides from Thursday's class - on the Solar System.
For the first class after break, we'll be discussing the formation of the Solar System. We'll apply our knowledge of the trends we talked about in class today. To prepare for our next class, please read Ch. 8.
updated Mar. 4
As you read Ch. 7 to prepare for Thursday's class, please focus on the introduction — the first page of the chapter, and the two page somewhat-to-scale diagram of the Solar system. The information about each object in the rest of 7.1 is useful, but what's really important are the trends, which are summarized in sec. 2, and which you should read carefully. The information in sec. 3, about spacecraft missions to the planets, is certainly interesting, but less central. And you should carefully read the short chapter summary at the end, which is always a good idea.
I'd also highly recommend that you spend a few minutes on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, and search for images of a few of your favorite objects, and read about those images. Here's one awesome one: ultraviolet view of the Sun.
updated Mar. 3
Here is a document, which I'll keep updating as questions come in, with a list of changes to the equation sheet and student questions and my answers.
updated Mar. 1
Your focus this week should be on preparation for the midterm. The test will be closed-book, but you will be given this sheet of constants, conversion factors, and equations (updated at 6:15 pm on Mar. 1, correcting a unit error; and again at 10:30 pm on Mar. 2 to correct a mistake in the parsec to light year conversion). Take a look at it now. Let me know if you think anything important is missing. Note that the equations are almost all given without explanation or units. You will have to know how to use them and what they mean, but you won't have to memorize them. Here is the review sheet, covering the first six weeks of the semester, that I made available to you last week. It hasn't changed since Feb. 25; I'm just putting it here for your convenience. Similarly, here is the sheet of review questions I gave you prior to last Tuesday's class.
Bring a calculator to the exam (you will not be allowed to use your phone), as well as something to write with. You will be given a copy of the equation sheet, linked above, but otherwise won't have access to any other information. Please look over the review sheets and the equation sheet - if you have any questions, look in your notes, the textbook, and the archive of old assignments on the class website, but if you remain uncertain or confused, email me and I'll answer your questions.
On Thursday this week, we'll start learning about the Solar System. Please read all of Ch. 7 in preparation for Thursday's class. There are no lab meetings this week, nor is there any homework.
There are telescope public viewings the second Tuesday of each month, at the Peter van de Kamp Observatory on the roof of the Science Center. The next one is on March 11, at 8 PM. Come on by, and bring a friend who isn't taking astronomy. The Moon and Jupiter will both be visible then.
Please read the following information about the class:
Information about the class [pdf]
Guidelines for the class [pdf]
This syllabus will be updated periodically (new version posted Feb. 24).
This page is maintained by David Cohen
cohen -at- astro.swarthmore.edu
Last modified: March 6, 2014