Contents and Approach:
The emphasis in this course will be seeking an explanation for the phenomena and objects that
occur in the Universe. We will discuss physical laws and how astronomers use them to understand
their observations. Much of the time during class will be spent discussing explanations and concepts
rather than descriptions of astronomical objects. You will have to learn some of the descriptive material
from the reading assignments. This will be a small class where you will get personal attention and be able
to interact directly with the prof. To succeed in this class you will have to keep up with the reading and
come to class and be willing to participate in discussions and activities.
A homework assignment will be handed out most Wednesdays and be due the next Wednesday. Some
assignments may involve observations of the sky. You must hand in homework to the prof in class. If you
are unable to deliver your homework in person, you are responsible for seeing that it gets delivered.
Late homework or homework not handed directly to the prof. will be worth 50% of its grade up to one
week past due.
Students are encouraged to work and learn together. The homework you hand in, however, must be
your own. Copied or paraphrased homework will receive no credit and may result in academic penalties.
There will be three 50 minute exams (September 19, October 20, November 17). There will be 4 quizzes
(September 5, October 3, Nov 3, and Dec. 5). A final exam will be given at the official time and place.
One 50 minute segment will be a makeup for people with excused absences from a quiz or hour exam.
Another 50 minute segment will be optional for anyone wishing to replace a quiz or test score. Nota Bene:
You cannot replace a zero from an unexcused absence!
Most questions will require short written (grammatically correct) answers. We will take points off for
poorly written or illegible answers. Cheating will absolutely not be tolerated. We prosecute!
If you are unable to attend a quiz or exam due to illness, you must notify me IN ADVANCE. You can do
this by e-mail or by phone (leave a message). If you fail to do this, you cannot be excused unless you were
demonstrably unconscious at the time of the exam.
Active participation in class discussions and activities is required. This means do the reading ahead of time and
come to class and get involved. You are not expected to know the "right" answer to every question. Attendance
in class is a requirement for this course.