
Announcements Archive
12/18

:

For those students who took the optional Final Exam, exam scores and updated Semester Totals are now
available on eGradebook. Semester letter grades, assigned as explained on the Exams & Grading page, will
be submitted on Wed., Dec. 19. Questions regarding your grade should be addressed to both the instructor and the
T.A. And, for those interested, I will post one last Frequently Missed Questions file for the Final Exam.
Have a nice winter holiday break!


12/11

:

Grades for Exam 3 and Semester Total scores are now posted on eGradebook. To predict
your semester letter grade based on work to date, see the Table on the Exams & Grading page.
(In addition, I will "round up" grades above 87.00 but less than 88.0 to an A, above 75 but less than 76 to a B, etc.)
Semester Totals were calculated according to the following formula (also see the syllabus):
(1) take the sum of the exam scores, divide by 300 and multiply by 75; (2) add the best five homework
scores, divide by 100 and multiply by 15; and (3) add the participation total (up to 10 points), which was
based on the index cards, star parties, and Mather essay. On this scale, a perfect score would be 100.
The optional comprehensive final exam will be on Sat., Dec. 15 in PAI 4.42 from 2  5 P.M.
Your score on the final exam can be used to replace an earlier missed exam or previous exam with a lower grade. Taking
the final exam will not worsen your grade. If your final exam score is worse than the previous exams, the final exam will not be counted.


12/5

:

Exam 3 will be given on Thurs., Dec. 6 in CPE 2.204. Bring your UT picture ID
and a calculator. You must arrive on time (no later than 2:15 PM) to take this exam, and no one will be allowed
to leave before 2:20 PM. Exam 3 scores and total numerical semester grades will be posted on eGradebook by
3 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 11. The lettergrade correspondences to the numerical scores will be the same
as for Exam 1; see table posted on the Exams & Grading page.
The optional comprehensive final exam will be on Sat., Dec. 15 in PAI 4.42 from 2  5 P.M.
The final exam may be taken in place of a previous missed exam, or as an opportunity to try to improve your course
grade. (If your final exam score would not improve your course grade, it will not be used.)


11/30

:

At our last regular class meeting, Tues., Dec. 4, I will tie up some loose ends on material that will be on
Exam 3 and say a few words about black holes in galaxies and nuclear activity (see ch. 25, which we skipped).
Homework 7 has been graded and will be returned, and the Course Instructor Survey will be taken
during the last 15 minutes.
Exam 3 will be given on Thurs., Dec. 6 in CPE 2.204, and the optional comprehensive final
exam will be on Sat., Dec. 15 in PAI 4.42. The final exam may be taken in place of a previous missed
exam, or as an opportunity to try to improve your course grade. (The grading curve on the "Exams & Grading" page applies
to all exams and the semester grade, as well as to Exam 1.)


11/21

:

On Thurs., Nov. 20 we began talking about our Milky Way Galaxy, which is discussed in ch. 23.
After Thanksgiving, we will continue with chs. 24, 26, & 27, skipping chs. 25 & 28.
Homework 7 is due on Thurs., Nov. 29 at the beginning of class, and there will be a help session for it
on Wed., Nov. 28 in RLM 15.216B, from 5  6 p.m.. Looking ahead, Exam 3 will be
given on Thurs., Dec. 6 in CPE 2.204, and the optional comprehensive final will be on Sat., Dec. 15
in PAI 4.42.


11/11

:

On Tues., Nov. 13 we will be discussing chapters 19 and 20 on the aging and deaths of stars.
Homework 5 is due at the beginning of class that day. There will be a help session on Mon., Nov. 12 in
RLM 15.216B, but this week it will be from 7  8 p.m. (due to the lack of room availability earlier in the evening).


11/2

:

We are now well into Unit 3 on stars and stellar life cycles. On Tues., Nov. 6 we will
finish ch. 17 and then skip back to the topic of Extrasolar Planets, covered briefly in Section 87.
(I hope at this point you will see why I chose this order of topics; the methods of searching for extrasolar planets
are mostly the same as those used to study binary stars.)
We will probably have two further homework assignments due before Thanksgiving, and one additional homework
due after the break. Exam 3 will be given on Thurs., Dec. 6, probably in CPE 2.204. If you
miss this exam or are unhappy with your grade on it, you will have to take the Final Exam, which is scheduled
on Sat., Dec. 15, 2  5 p.m.


10/30

:

Dr. Dinerstein will not be holding office hours on Wed., Occt. 31, due to a conflict with an important faculty
meeting. However, we are now finished with Exam 2, and return to more routine class meetings up until
Thanksgiving break. On Thurs., Nov. 1, we will begin the properties and life stories of stars, which are covered in
ch. 17  22 in the textbook.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!


10/25

:

Exam 2, on chapters 6  16, will be given on Tues., Oct. 30 in Welch, Room 2.308. This is on
the ground floor if you enter Welch from Speedway. Please come early if you're not sure where the room is. Bring your U.T.
picture ID, and be prepared to sit where directed by the instructor. You must arrive no later than 2:15 p.m. in order to take
the exam, and no one can leave before then.
There will be a preexam help session the evening before, from 6  7 p.m. on Mon., Oct. 29 in
RLM 15.216B. (note different time).


10/18

:

We are a little more than halfway through the semester (week 7), and have covered the first 400 pages,
chapters 1  15, in the textbook. There are about 350 more pages and 13 more chapters to go! We will begin
the unit on the Sun and stars (ch. 16), on Tues., Oct. 23.
You will get a little break from doing homework, in order to catch up on your reading and study for
Exam 2, which will be given on Tues., Oct. 30. As before it will be held in a different
location than our usual lecture classroom, but the details have yet to be determined. There will be a help
session the evening before, this time from 6  7 p.m. on Mon., Oct. 29 in
RLM 15.216B..


10/12

:

Homework 4 was distributed and is due on Thursday, October 18. Professor Dinerstein will not be able to
hold her office hours on Monday, October 15 due to an astronomical conference that is being held at the
University of Texas next Monday and Tuesday, but she will hold office hours on Wednesday.
On Oct. 11 we (nearly) finished discussing the terrestrial planets, discussed in chapters 9, 10, & 11. Next week we will
address the Jovian planets (chs. 12  14) and comets, asteroids, etc. (ch. 15), wrapping up the Solar System unit
by the end of the week.


10/5

:

Homework 3 was distributed and is due on Thursday, October 11. Professor Dinerstein will not be able to hold her
office hours on Monday, October 8 due to a meeting in the Dean's Office. T.A. Athena Stacy will be available then, but
only before 3:30 PM.
Exam 1 has been graded and returned; if you did not pick your paper up on Thursday, you can access your grade on
eGradebook (see the new Exams & Grading page).
We have moved on to the unit on the Solar System. We will cover some chapters in detail (ch. 7, 8, 11, 12, & 14), and
briefly summarize the rest. I recommend skimming through all of the chapters, but without trying to memorize all the technical
vocabulary.


9/22

:

Exam 1 will be given in class on Thursday, September 27. Note that it will be held in
Pharmacy 2.110 instead of our regular classroom. The exam will cover chapters 15, not including the Doppler shift.
See below for important instructions about the exam.
There will be a preexam help session on Wed., Sep. 26, 5  6 PM in RLM 15.216B. Please bring questions about the
homework, recommended problems, etc. to this session, or see the T.A. during her office hours. Prof. Dinerstein will be out of town
this week, and will not be able to hold office hours.
Class will meet as usual on Tuesday, Sep. 25, and Homework 2 will be returned. Prof. John Lacy will talk about the Doppler shift and telescopes (last part of ch. 5 and all of ch. 6). On Tues., Oct. 2, we will begin the unit on the Solar System; read chapters 7 and 8.
Exam Information:
1. Again, go to Pharmacy 2.110.
2. Be on time. No one will be allowed to take the exam if they arrive more than 20 minutes late, and no one may leave
the exam room until then.
3. Bring your UT picture ID; we will be checking these.
4. Bring a calculator; a simple one with basic functions is all you will need.
5. Do not bring your own crib sheet; a short list of equations and the values of important constants will be included on
the exam.
6. Read the instructions carefully and make sure to follow them. For problems, you need to show the intermediate
steps and explain what you are doing; for essays you need to write in complete sentences.
GOOD LUCK!


9/14

:

The week of September 18  20 we will be covering chapters 5 & 6 in the textbook, which are
on the properties of light and the tools astronomers use.
Homework 2 is now out, and is due on Thursday, Sep. 20. The lateness policy on homework
will be strictly enforced from this point onwards in the semester, so be sure to turn it in before or at the beginning
of class. There will be a Help Session on Wednesday afternoon (September 19) from 5  6 PM in RLM 15.216B, in
case you are confused about the material covered in class and how to approach the homework problems.


9/10

:

Homework 1, distributed last Thursday, is due on Thursday, Sep. 13. It is also posted
on the Homework page. In order for your homework to be considered on time, you must turn it in at the
beginning of class. (Only ontime homeworks will be graded for credit.)
There will be a Help Session on Wednesday, September 12 from 5  6 PM in RLM 15.216B. Bring
your questions about the material we have covered so far, or about the homework, to this session. We will
generally schedule such help sessions on evenings before exams or homework due dates.
This Tuesday's lecture will be on chapter 4, which discusses how studies of the planets
of our Solar System led to an understanding of the laws of motion and gravity.


9/7

:

If you would like to read ahead to prepare for class, we will begin chapter 4 on Tuesday. The list of
recommended practice problems is being updated, and the Lecture Slides will be updated as soon as is feasible.
We have completed chapters 1  3 in our textbook. Homework 1, on the material in these chapters, was distributed
Thursday, and is due at the beginning of class next Thursday, Sep. 13. If you did not pick up a copy, it is posted on the
Homeworks link on this page. Since we will be dropping the two lowest homework scores (see syllabus), late
homeworks will not be accepted for credit.


8/31

:

We covered most of chapter 1 in our first class meeting on Thursday, Aug. 30, and will move on
to chapters 2 and 3 next week. Some recommended endofchapter questions are: ch. 1, problems 13, 22,
27, 28, 30, and 37. Numerical answers for the last 4 are given in back of the book. You can also explore the
textbook website, which has additional tools for checking your mastery of the material.


8/29

:

Welcome to the Astronomy 307 web page! The following is not required, but if you are enrolled
in this class and have already bought the textbook, you might like to read chapter 1 before coming
to class on Thurs., Aug. 30. See you then!
 Prof. Dinerstein

