To exit to the home page, click here.

Astronomy 170B1

If your computer won't play the movies, you can download a player at To get the free version, which works fine, click on  RealPlayer FREE Download. You may want to make this player the default for all formats. Another free player (Quicktime) can be found at If the some of the movies still won't play, check the default programs your computer is using. For example, Windows Media Player refuses to play Quicktime (*.mov) so you need to make the Quicktime player the default for any with the .mov extension.

Procedures and grading policies

Get an outline for the notes here. You can use it to fill in notes for the topics and as a study guide.

Jan 13 Wednesday lecture

Introduction, Scientific Method, Scales in the Universe    Instructions for Moon Homework Project will be discussed                                              

How did astronomy get started?

Jan 15 Friday lecture

Appearance of the Sky, Beginnings of Astronomy

Homework due on Jan 22 will be discussed

The story of our gaining an understanding of the planetary motions now begins. It allows us to examine how science works, in slow motion (about 15 centuries worth).

Jan 18 Monday No Class Martin Luther King Holiday
Jan 20 Wednesday lecture Greek Astronomy, Ptolemy, Medieval Astronomy, Copernicus, Tycho               
Jan 22 Friday lecture

 Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Scientific Method (reprise)                                  Homework due on Jan 29 will be  discussed

Science has built an understanding of nature and along with it, the tools to observe the Universe.

Jan 25 Monday lecture Physical Laws, Light
Jan 27 Wednesday lecture Simulation of the Appearance of the Sky, EM radiation demos
Jan 29 Friday activity Light and Spectroscopy -- completed homework from this due Feb 5
Feb 1 Monday lecture Spectroscopy
Feb 3 Wednesday lecture What We Can Learn from Spectra, The Sun,  Other Stars
Feb 5 Friday lecture Modern PhysicsObservatories  and review for test
Feb 8 Monday EXAM

First Exam: Given in the Lecture Hall, bring a picture ID!

review and practice questions for exam

How does the sun compare with other stars? What happens as stars get older?

Get an outline for the next section of notes here.

Feb 10 Wednesday lecture Interior of the Sun,  Evolution of Stars
Feb 12 Friday activity Lab on Measuring the Luminosity of the Sun -- due Feb 22
Feb 15


lecture Deaths of Stars, Stellar Black Holes
Feb 17 Wednesday lecture Novae and Supernovae, Supernova Remnants  -- Moon Journal due
Feb 19 Friday lecture Discovery of the Milky Way, The Milky Way
Feb 22 Monday lecture The Interstellar Medium, Formation of Stars

Each planet in our solar system has unique properties that provide clues to the formation of the system

Feb 24 Wednesday lecture Formation of the Solar System, Overview of Solar System,
Feb 26 Friday lecture Exploring Planets, Earth                   
Feb 29 Monday activity Half life discussion and demonstration,-- half life homework due Mar 7
Mar 2 Wednesday lecture The Moon
Mar 4 Friday lecture Mercury, Venus
Mar 7 Monday lecture  Mars 
Mar 9 Wednesday EXAM

Second Exam: Given in the Lecture Hall, bring a picture ID!

review and practice questions for exam 

Mar 11 Friday lecture Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
Mar 12 -20     Spring Break

We learn more about the solar system from its smaller members.

Get an outline for the next section of notes here.

Mar 21 Monday lecture Jupiter's Moons, Moons and Rings     
Mar 23 Wednesday lecture Pluto, Solar System Debris   

Galaxies have a broad variety of characteristics, including cores containing supermassive black holes that produce dramatic activity.

Mar 25 Friday activity Variable Stars and distances -- homework due Apr 1 discussed
Mar 28 Monday lecture Discovery of Galaxies
Mar 30 Wednesday lecture Types of Galaxy, Dark Matter
Apr 1 Friday lecture Distribution of Galaxies in Space   Homework due on Apr 8 discussed
Apr 4 Monday lecture Spiral Arms, Growing Galaxies  
Apr 6 Wednesday lecture Center of the Milky Way
Apr 8 Friday lecture Active Galaxy Nuclei

Cosmology: the Structure and Evolution of the Universe

Get an outline for the next section of notes here.

Apr 11 Monday EXAM

Third Exam: Given in the Lecture Hall, bring a picture ID!   

review and practice 

Apr 13 Wednesday lecture The Big Bang,  The Fate of the Universe,  Dark Energy
Apr 15 Friday lecture The Start of Everything, Era of Nuclei
Apr 18 Monday lecture Era of Atoms, "Recombination" and "Reionization", Era of Galaxies
Apr 20 Wednesday lecture The Role of the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope)

Are we alone?

Apr 22 Friday lecture Discovering Other Planets,    Comparison of the Solar System to Exoplanet Systems
Apr 25 Monday lecture Variety of  Exoplanet Properties    Homework due May 4
Apr 27 Wednesday lecture Long Term Climate, Habitable Zones 
Apr 29 Friday lecture Formation of Life, Advanced Life
May 2 Monday lecture Mass Extinctions, Emergence of Intelligence
May 4 Wednesday lecture Contacting Other Civilizations
May 9 Monday FINAL EXAM

10:30am to 12:30pm Final Exam -- given in the Lecture Hall,  bring a picture ID!

review and practice