Astronomy 1: Introductory Astronomy

Prof. David Cohen

Spring 2014
Tu., Th. 9:55 to 11:10
SC 128


Saturn Butterfly Nebula Abel 68


Click on each image for more information about these objects.



updated Apr. 20

We'll be finishing up the Milky Way and looking beyond it, to other galaxies this week.

The new homework is due on Friday, April 25. Office hours are posted to the right.

There will be a regular SA session this week, on Wednesday night.

We are done with labs! But you can still enjoy the night sky. Don't forget to look up while you're walking across campus on clear nights!

Archive of old announcements.


updated Apr. 24

In preparation for Tuesday's class, look over the slides from today's (Thursday's) class and (re-)read the first two sections of Ch. 20. If you've got time, read the rest of Ch. 20, too.

updated Apr. 22

No new reading for Thursday's class, but make sure you've read up through section 2 of Ch. 20. We'll finish up our discussion of spiral structure in the Milky Way and then use Kepler's third law to weigh the massive black hole at the Milky Way's center and then move on to other galaxies: galaxy types and distances to galaxies. Also, review the slides from Tuesday's class in preparation for Thursday's class.

updated Apr. 20

Homework #10 is available, and is due on Friday, April 25, at 5pm.

Look over the slides from the most recent class while you also finish reading all of Ch. 19 carefully. We'll be focusing on: the Star-Gas-Star cycle, the contrasting properties of the disk and halo, the nature of interstellar gas and dust, and the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. You should start Ch. 20, when you're done with Ch. 19. Note that there's a question on the current homework about distances to star clusters based on material in sec. 2 of Ch. 20.

Archive of old assignments.

Upcoming Events

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 May 13, at 9 PM. Come on by, and bring a friend who isn't taking astronomy. The Moon and Jupiter will both be visible then, and Saturn may also be above the tree-line.


Class Information

Information about the class [pdf]

Guidelines for the class [pdf]

This syllabus will be updated periodically (new version posted Apr. 4).

office hours


Astronomy Picture of the Day

what's up in the sky this week

sky and weather information

Stellarium software

Powers of Ten

PhET orbit simulator

department website



This page is maintained by David Cohen
cohen -at-

Last modified: April 24, 2014