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Astronomy 301 - Fall 2007
MWF 10:00-11:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 50535
MWF 11:00-12:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 50540


Gregory Shields

Office: RLM 15.224
Hours: TuTh 10-11, W 3-4, or by appt
Phone: (512) 471-1402


[Section 50535]

Randi Worhatch

[Section 50540]

Sarah Salviander

Course Description
What are the stars? How old are they, how were they born, and when will they die? How does our Milky Way compare to other galaxies? How did the Universe begin? What processes led to the formation of stars and planets? What is the future of the solar system, the Galaxy, and the universe? Are we alone in the universe?

These questions fascinate everyone. Astronomers have some answers, but many questions remain. This course gives a survey of modern astronomy with a focus on stars, galaxies, and the universe at large. Topics include stars, interstellar gas, galaxies, quasars, the Big Bang, dark matter and dark energy, and life in the universe. The course describes the contents and evolution of the universe, as revealed by increasingly powerful scientific instruments. The goals are to leave the student with a picture of our place in the universe and an appreciation of scientific thinking that may be useful in later life.

Lectures will be illustrated with images and videos. Mathematics will include high school algebra but no calculus. Some homework assignments may involve nighttime observations.

Prerequisite. None

Grading. Course grade will be based on three one-hour exams in class and homework (no final exam). Exams will be closed book, multiple choice and essay. Exams will cover lectures, assigned reading, and homework. Make-up tests will not be given except for a compelling reason presented in advance or in case of illness. Exam weights and tentative dates are:

First Exam
W 9/26
Second Exam
W 10/31
Third Exam
W 12/5

Homework will count 25%, based on grading of selected problems from homework sets.

Help sessions. The lecture before each exam will be devoted to reviewing the material on the exam. Additional help sessions will be scheduled for help with the homework and class material.Help session time and place to be announced. Please try to attend the session designated for your class in order to regulate attendance, but you may attend the other one if necessary.

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