Office: RLM 15.204
Hours: M 10:30-12, F 3-4, or after any class, or by phone
Phone: (512) 471-6446 (office), or 478-2748 (home)
M 1:30-3:00. Also: 4-5:30 on the day before each exam, or by appointment. My hours are much more flexible
than yours, and I am more than willing to come in at other times, including weekends. However I urge you to
feel free to call me at my home or to talk to me after class (outside the classroom, if necessary--I have free time
after most of our classes except on Wednesdays; for short questions there is usually no need for you to walk all
the way to my office, and I welcome phone calls at home--it is an extremely efficient way for us to communicate
while a particular question or problem is on your mind. Email is much less efficient and I usually cannot take
enough time to give adequate answers to scientific questions by email, although it is fine for non-subject matter
communication. (E.g. "Please write more legibly on the board," "Please stop mumbling"...)
Textbook: Chaisson, E. and McMillan, S., Astronomy Today , 6th Edition Vol. II, Stars and Galaxies.
It is important that you purchase the 6th Edition and that you begin browsing through it immediately.
This is a new edition, so there are no used copies. To compensate for the steep price, I am using a version that is less expensive but
requires that students study for one of the exams using the textbook web site. (Details later.) The textbook is still expensive, but several
Astronomy Department faculty members use this book, so it has resale value.
Course web page
You can navigate to it through the departmental site,
or directly at:
The course website will contain the syllabus; an outline of most class lectures (usually as pdf files); a way for you to easily check your
exam scores (link to eGradebook); and a simple way for me to distribute handouts or make slight revisions to the reading assignments or
subsections covered on exams. I urge you to check the website often, and keep the url in a handy place.
100% of your grade will be based on 7 exams (about one every two weeks, beginning with Friday, Sept. 14. All exams will be
weighted equally except that your lowest exam score will only receive a weight of 1/2 compared to the others. So you have to
take all the exams, but if you have an off day (or week, etc.) it won't hurt your final grade too much.