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Astronomy 170B

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Procedures and grading policies

Below is the table of contents. Classes indicated as "lecture" will meet in N210 (large lecture hall), while those listed as "discussion" will be in one of the individual smaller classrooms designated for this purpose.

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

Aug. 25 Monday lecture Introduction, Scientific Method, Scales in the Universe

How did astronomy get started?

Aug. 27 Wednesday lecture Appearance of the Sky, Beginnings of Astronomy

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).

Aug. 29 Friday lecture Greek Astronomy, Ptolemy, Medieval Astronomy, Copernicus, Tycho
Sept. 3 Wednesday lecture  Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Scientific Method (repeat)
Sept. 5 Friday lecture Physical Laws, Light


Sept. 8 Monday lecture Spectroscopy
Sept. 10 Wednesday Meet in Planetarium Understanding the Sky
Sept. 12 Friday discussion  Sizes and distances, lunar phases, sky motions
Sept. 15 Monday lecture Modern Physics, Observatories

We begin the story of what we have learned with these tools by looking at the origin of the Universe itself.

Sept. 17 Wednesday lecture The Big Bang, The Fate of the Universe, The Start of Everything
Sept. 19 Friday discussion  Spectroscopy lab, due Sept. 26
Sept. 22 Monday lecture Era of Nuclei, Era of Atoms and Era of Galaxies

Stars and galaxies are the foundation of our understanding of the Universe. Our understanding of stars starts with the sun.

Sept. 24 Wednesday EXAM review and practice
Sept. 26 Friday discussion Spectroscopy
Sept. 29 Monday lecture The Sun, Interior of the Sun 

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

Oct. 1 Wednesday lecture  Other Stars, Evolution of Stars Lunar phases due
Oct. 3 Friday discussion  Sun Lab
Oct. 6 Monday lecture Deaths of Stars, Stellar Black Holes
Oct. 8 Wednesday lecture Novae and Supernovae, Supernova Remnants 
Oct. 10 Friday discussion  HR diagram due at beginning of lab, discuss stellar evolution, graphs, etc.

Galaxies are huge systems of stars, gas, dust, and dark matter.

Oct. 13 Monday lecture Discovery of the Milky Way, Discovery of Galaxies, The Interstellar Medium
Oct. 15 Wednesday lecture Dark Matter, Distribution of Galaxies in Space, Types of Galaxy
Oct. 17 Friday discussion  Leavitt photometry discussion, discuss standard candles, sun lab

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

Oct. 20 Monday lecture The Milky Way, Center of the Milky Way
Oct. 22 Wednesday lecture Active Galaxy Nuclei  
Oct. 24 Friday discussion  Review for exam

Star formation shapes the appearance of the Universe

Oct. 27 Monday lecture Formation of Stars, Spiral Arms, Growing Galaxies
Oct. 29 Wednesday EXAM review and practice
Oct. 31 Friday discussion TBD

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

Nov. 3 Monday lecture Formation of the Solar System, Overview of Solar System
Nov. 5 Wednesday lecture Exploring Planets, Earth
Nov. 7 Friday lecture Earth
Nov. 12 Wednesday lecture The Moon, Mercury 
Nov. 14 Friday discussion  
Nov. 17 Monday lecture Venus, Mars
Nov. 19 Wednesday lecture Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune 
Nov. 21 Friday discussion  Mars missions, radioactivity, statistics

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

Nov. 24 Monday lecture Jupiter's Moons, Moons and Rings
Nov. 26 Wednesday lecture Pluto, Solar System Debris 

Is there intelligent life "out there?"

Dec. 1 Monday lecture Other Planets, Long Term Climate, Habitable Zones
Dec. 3 Wednesday lecture Formation of Life, Advanced Life
Dec. 5 Friday discussion  Habitable planet discussion, Kepler Mission discussion
Dec. 8 Monday lecture Mass Extinctions, Emergence of Intelligence
Dec. 10 Wednesday lecture Contacting Other Civilizations
Dec. 12 Friday FINAL 10:30am-12:30pm for 10am class  review and practice 
Dec. 15 Monday FINAL 10:30am-12:30pm for 11am class  review and practice