Astronomy 1: Introductory Astronomy

Archive of Announcements

Week 14

updated May 1

We have now had our last class (see Assignments section for the slides shown in that class). And we have our last homework due on Friday. Over the weekend, I'll post information about our final exam, including study topics and a copy of the equation sheet you'll be given in the exam.

updated Apr. 27

We'll be looking at galaxies beyond the Milky Way and to the Universe as a whole (cosmology) to wrap up our semester.

There is one final homework which is due on Friday, May 2. Office hours are posted.

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

Our final exam will be held on Saturday, May 10 at 2pm in room 101.

Week 13

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.

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!

Week 12

updated Apr. 16

The Milky Way in class on Thursday!


No SA session this week.

Looks like the Wednesday and Thursday night lab sections will both get to do the outdoor lab. It starts at 9pm. Come prepared!

No homework has currently been assigned, but expect one over the weekend, due on Friday, April 25.

Week 11

updated Apr. 10

Our second midterm is on Tuesday, in class.

There will be an SA session on Sunday night in SC 105 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. But David will be out of town on Friday and Monday, and so will not be able to hold office hours. Get in touch with questions by email anytime, though. Homework solutions will be posted over the weekend.

We'll be learning about galaxies, and specifically, the Milky Way galaxy, starting next Thursday. You can start reading Ch. 19 to prepare, but you certainly don't have to before Tuesday's exam.

Our final lab meeting will be this coming week. The Monday and Tuesday sections will do the Expansion of the Universe lab, but the Wednesday and Thursday sections will be attempting to make up the second observing lab.

updated Apr. 7

Homework is due on Wednesday this week. The SA session will be held on Tuesday night.

There is no lab this week.

Our second midterm will be given in class on Monday.

Week 10

updated Apr. 1

We will not have a homework assignment due this Friday. Rather, I'll give out an assignment this week that will be due on Wednesday next week. Our regular SA session will be canceled this week and instead we'll have an SA session next Tuesday night from 7pm to 9pm.

An updated syllabus has been posted on the right side of the front page.

Note that our final exam is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at 2pm.

updated Mar. 30

We will have our fifth lab meeting this week. The lab manual(s) are posted on the Old Assignments page. If the weather is good on your lab night, we'll do the second observing lab and your lab meeting will start at 9pm. If, on the other hand, the weather is bad, we'll do the lab we have scheduled as our final lab — on the expansion of the Universe. And in that case, we'll meet at the usual time (8pm). As usual, your lab instructor will make the final call about the weather and which lab you do on the day of the lab. So you should keep an eye out for an email from them on the day of your lab meeting.

I've posted my office hours; they're the same as last week's. Also, I've put a link to the orbit simulator in the links list on the right side of the front page.

I will add a few more updates to this page by Monday morning, including a short homework assignment. Update (4/1): Sorry for the delay, see announcement above about homework.

Week 9

updated Mar. 24

We have a physicist visiting our department this Friday - Greg Adkins, from Franklin and Marshall. He studies atoms made partially of anti-matter, and he's giving a lunchtime talk about his research. See the announcement, with a brief description of the talk. Feel free to come to the talk, which is in SC 199. Pizza will be served at 12:30 and the talk starts at 12:45 and will last an hour, including questions. It will be aimed at the level of students who are majors, but I enjoy talks that I don't understand every part of - and you can too!

updated Mar. 21

There is no lab this week.

Week 8

updated Mar. 19

The SA session is being held tonight, as usual, but it will be run by astro major Stefan Tuomanen, because Rebeka has play rehearsal tonight. It will be held as usual in SC 128 from 7 to 9pm.

updated Mar. 14

Office hours for week 8 are now posted. New information is in the Assignments section.

Our fourth lab meetings will happen this week. All lab sections will be doing the seasons lab. Please read the manual ahead of time, and note that there are a few pages of background reading from the textbook. Absolutely do them before coming to lab. There are no pre-lab questions, though.

Week 7

updated Mar. 3

Solutions to homework #6 will be posted 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 (now on the Old Assignments page). 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. Note two sets of office hours on Monday. Midterm info and reading for Thursday are posted (now on the Old Assignments page).

Week 6

updated Feb. 28

Changed my office hours for today. They're now: 10:30 - 11:15 and 3:30 - 5:00.

updated Feb. 27

Lab tonight for the Thursday section (but then no labs next week). Homework #6 is due on Friday - and my solutions to all old homeworks are now available on the Old Assignments page; and solutions to #6 will be posted by Monday (but there will not be new homework next week). Instead, you can focus on preparing for the midterm on Tuesday. Note the review sheet in the Feb. 25 part of the Assignments section (now on the Old Assignments page). And also note the review topics sheet in the Feb. 23 subsection. As well as the slides from both classes this week. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the things in these two documents. I will post the sheet of equations, constants, and conversion factors that will be available to you in the exam, by Friday.

updated Feb. 24

In case your lab section can't do the outdoor lab again this week, you'll be doing the fourth schedule lab — on the seasons. The manual is available, below, in the Assignments section (now on the Old Assignments page). There's a reading assignment there, too, for Thursday. And also a new homework assignment, due on Friday. ...I still owe you midterm and review information. Coming soon. Update: review information is now posted.

updated Feb. 23

Lab meets this week (M 2/24 - F 2/28). So far, it looks like the Monday section will be doing the outdoor lab. Early in the week I'll post the lab manual for our next, indoor, lab, in case some sections can't do the outdoor lab again this week.

Week 5

updated Feb. 20

Because some of you have textbooks that don't have Ch. 15, I've scanned the chapter and am making it available for you here [part 1 and part 2]. Note that it is also available in Cornell Library, on the reserve shelf (there's one copy that's the full edition, including Ch. 15, 16, etc., and one copy that's the edition missing Ch. 15 - 23; so make sure you ask for the correct copy). Finally, note that the end-of-chapter questions, perhaps useful for the homework, are included in part 2 of the scanned chapter.

Also, I've decided (as I announced in class today) to take problem 6 off the homework. You do not have to do it, and if you have, it won't be counted toward your grade.

updated Feb. 19

There are several different things for you to look at — my solutions to the tire-pressure problem, one-page summaries of the last two classes, and several useful links — in the Assignments section, below (now on the Old Assignments page), but there is no new textbook reading or pre-class assignment (and won't be). Please look at the material I posted, and make sure you've done the Ch. 14 and 15 reading previously assigned for this week before coming to class tomorrow.

Lab next week — we'll try to do the observing lab that was frozen/snowed out last week.

updated Feb. 17

There's a new, short assignment due at the beginning of tomorrow's class. See the Assignments section, below (now on the Old Assignments page).

updated Feb. 16

You can check the graded homework that was returned this past week against my solutions. Update (2/19): I've now posted them on the Old Assignments page. And in general, you'll always be able to find my solutions posted (but with some delay) right near the assignment itself.

updated Feb. 15

No lab this week (M 2/17 - F 2/21). Office hours posted at the right. Reading's been posted below, in the Assignments section, for a couple of days now. That's been moved to the Old Assignments page, but I've updated and prioritized the reading assignments for you there now. Homework will be posted soon, below. I will email you when it is (update: Sunday 11AM - it's posted).

Week 4

updated Feb. 13

No lab next week. No slides from today's (Thursday's) class. All the homework (from last week) has been graded and is available for you to pick up in the lower mailbox outside my office. Please pick up your graded homework when you come by to hand in this week's assignment. And there's a detailed reading assignment for next week, posted below (now on the old assignments page).

updated Feb. 12

SA session tonight in SC 128 from 7 to 9 pm. Come to work on the homework.

Lab tonight and almost certainly tomorrow will be Kepler's third law (Moons of Jupiter).

Tomorrow in class we'll be finishing up gravity, Kepler's third law (non-circular orbits?), Doppler shift, tides. And an opportunity to review all the material up to this point. Come with questions! Update (2/13): we'll apply the Doppler shift to binary stars in the homework assignment for next week. And we will also cover non-circular orbits and briefly mention tides before starting in on Chs. 14 and 15.

updated Feb. 11

All lab sections will be doing the Jupiter's moons: Kepler's third law lab due to the cold and then snowy weather. Take a look at the manual linked here - studying it carefully before coming to lab! There is no pre-lab assignment but preparation is the key to having a good lab experience.

I'll be running a public open house at the telescope from 8 to 9 pm tonight. It will be very cold, but come on by for a recreational look at Jupiter and the Moon, and bring a non-astronomy-student friend with you!

More announcements - homework, prep for Thursday's class, real soon.

Week 3

updated Feb. 8

The syllabus is now posted on the right side of the front page.

updated Feb. 7

Lab this coming week will involve some naked eye observing (and a little telescopic observing) as well as some work indoors. Meet at the lab room (SC 187) at 8:00 pm. The lab manual is below, in the Assignments section. If the weather is bad, lab will still happen, and we'll do the next scheduled lab, on Jupiter's moons and Kepler's third law.

I realized today that I forgot to post the solutions for homework 2 (last week's homework). So, here they are, plus they're posted right near the assignment itself on the old assignments page. You should always make sure you understand how to do every homework problem after you get your graded homework back.

updated Feb. 6

I've decided not to add any new problems to the current homework. Just the three problems you already have. But see the Assignments section, below, for some tips/hints on the problems, especially problem number 3. ...for your convenience, here are the tips/hints.

updated Feb. 3

The two pages of gravity reading from Ch. 4 are available, below, as a pdf. Don't forget that there's a copy of the textbook in Cornell Library, on reserve, too.

The first part of your next homework assignment is available, below, as well.

Also, the SA session for this week (and likely future weeks) will start at 7:00 pm; so, 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Wednesday in SC 128. Update: canceled due to the power outage.

updated Feb. 1

No lab meetings this week. SA session on Wednesday night. New homework posted by Sunday (below). Reading/topics for this week - at least for the first half of the week - are now posted.

Week 2

updated Jan. 28

Our class Science Associate (SA) Rebeka Gomez-Wick will be holding an SA session from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM on Wednesday night, in SC 128 (our classroom). Drop by for help/advice on the homework and/or any concepts from class or the reading that you'd like some help with.

updated Jan. 26

In the upcoming week (week 2), we'll have our first lab. Information is below, in the Assignments section (now on the Old Assignments page). Note that there are three pre-lab questions that you'll hand in upon your arrival in lab. Everyone will receive an email by Monday morning confirming which lab section you're in.

Homework for this week, and information about Tuesday's and Thursday's classes, will be posted here (and on the Old Assignments page) shortly. There will be an SA session on Wednesday night, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

Week 1

updated Jan. 21

The slides from our first class are available in the section (now on the Old Assignments page), as is the first homework assignment. The reading assignment for Thursday has been posted in that same section since yesterday.

updated Jan. 20

Please read the class information and also the guidelines, posted on the right side of the front page.

updated Jan. 19

Our first class meeting is Tuesday morning at 9:55 am in Science Center 128. We'll hit the ground running, figuring out the distance to the Moon from our observations. By the same method the ancient Greeks used.

Science Center 128 is at the end of the hallway, just beyond the end of the red line on this map. One good way to get there is to go to the Science Center Commons (with the huge windows and high ceiling) and go out the door diagonally opposite the coffee bar. Once you're outside you'll be on a bridge. Go across it and in the door at the end of it, and room 128 will be the first room on your left.

Labs meet the second week of classes, not this week. You'll have a chance to switch lab sections if you need to — and I'll need volunteers to switch out of the Tuesday section — but let's wait to deal with lab sections till after our first class meeting on Tuesday.

Return to the main class page.

This page is maintained by David Cohen
cohen -at-

Last modified: May 5, 2014