Astronomy 309N - Fall 2009
Lives and Deaths of Stars
ASTRONOMY BIZARRE: COSMIC CATASTROPHES
TTh 12:30-2:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 49505
HOURS: TTh 2-3 PM or by appointment; do not hesitate to talk to me if you have questions or problems. My job is to help.
GRADES: There will be four hour-long examinations each counting 25 percent of the grade. The exams are scheduled for 9/24, 10/15, 11/12, and 12/3. The exams will be multiple choice. There will be no final exam. Plus/minus grading will be used for the final grade; for example: 79.5-83.3 B-, 83.4-86.6 B, 86.7-89.4 B+.
EXTRA CREDIT: Sky watch project to identify objects or constellations containing objects like supernovae and black holes that are relevant to the course (5 points added to term average). Participate in one function related to the International Year of Astronomy (2 points added to term average). Questions on exams about astronomy in the news (1 point per question (usually two questions) on each exam). See Extra Credit handout for details.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is a specialized course for non-science majors that will presume some knowledge of the basic astronomical concepts presented in Astronomy 301. There will be a minimum of mathematics, but a familiarity with basic algebra and scientific notation ("powers of ten") will be helpful.
COURSE CONTENT: Discussion of supernovae, neutron stars and black holes with applications to gamma-ray bursts, worm holes, determining the origin, state, and fate of the Universe, and hints of extra dimensions (see Schedule, next page).
TEXT: The book was written by the instructor based on many years of teaching this class. It is entitled Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes and Mapping the Universe, Second Edition, published by Cambridge University Press.
HELP SESSIONS: Weekly help sessions will be scheduled Wednesday in RLM 15.216B at 5:00-6:00 PM to discuss class material and exams. These sessions and office hours allow a more nearly one-on-one relationship and are a valuable addition to the lecture. Another room may be scheduled before exams.
DISABILITIES: Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.
(Note: we do not use Blackboard)