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AST 352k · Introductory Astronomy    1   2   3   4  


The primary text for Ast 352K this semester will be a set of Instructor's Notes, which will be posted on the course website, in several-page segments, as pdf documents. We will institute a password-protected interface in order to avoid running into copyright problems. There are not many textbooks for courses like Ast 352K, although some instructors use "An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics," by Ostlie and Carroll. The second edition of this book came out within the past year. Since it is expensive, I have chosen to list it as only recommended, not required, for Ast 352K. If you plan to continue your studies in astronomy, you may wish to own this book for later reference. For those who don't wish to purchase such an expensive book, I have placed one copy on reserve in the PMA Library. (There is also a copy of the first edition.) I will be posting information on the relevant pages in Ostlie & Carroll for each topic we cover, but the primary text will remain the (free!!) Instructor's Notes.


Hour and Final Exams: There will be three in-class hour exams during the semester, and a comprehensive final exam at the official time: Thursday, December 13, 2 - 5 PM. The final exam is worth 20% of the grade, the same as each of the hour exams. If you take all three hour exams and are satisfied with your grades, you don't have to take the final. If you choose to take it anyway, and get a better score than on one of the previous exams, the higher score replaces the lower one. I do not give make-ups for missed exams, even if they were missed for a good reason; instead, the final exam serves as the universal make-up exam. It is your responsibility to make sure that you will be available on the day of the final exam, if there is any chance that you may need or wish to take it.

Homeworks: The required work for this course will include homework (problem sets). Truth in advertising: These will be fairly long, but there be only about 5 or 6 of them over the whole semester. Depending on how many are assigned, the lowest one or possibly two homework grades will be dropped. Please note: homeworks are not group projects. You may talk with your fellow students about the general ideas, but the work you turn in must be your own. In cases of duplicated answers to the problems, neither paper will receive credit.

Participation: A significant portion of the grade will be determined by an oral presentation on a topic of special interest to you, but that is also relevant to stellar astronomy. Topics must be approved in advance by the instructor. The presentation grade will be based on written materials prepared for distribution to the class, as well as on the quality of the visual materials and the effectiveness of delivery. Another aspect of the participation portion of the grade will be an occasional assignment to prepare a 2-3 minute summary of one of our class sessions, to be presented at the beginning of the next class. Finally, regular attendance and participation is expected, and constitutes a small part of the grade. Attendance is recorded by means of a sign-in sheet at the beginning of class.

Grading Breakdown: The grading scheme will be:

In-class and/or final exams: 60% (3 equally weighted exams, each 20%)
Homework: 20% of grade
Class Presentations: 15%
General Participation: 5%


First class meeting: Thurs., Aug. 30
Last day of the official add/drop period: Tues., Sep. 4
Last day an undergraduate may add a course, or drop a course with a possible refund (this is the 12th class day, when class rosters are finalized): Friday, Sep. 14
Last day to drop a course with an automatic Q: Wednesday, Sep. 26 (but in practice I will grant a Q-drop up until Oct. 24, due to the drop-one-exam policy)
Last day to drop a course, except for a non-academic reasons: Wednesday, Oct. 24
Last class meeting: Thursday, Dec. 6
Final Exam: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2:00 - 5:00 PM

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31 August 2007
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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