Astronomy 301 - Fall 2010
INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY
TTh 12:30-2 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 47655
Introduction to Astronomy
Fall 2010 Unique No. 47655 | TTh 12:30-2:00 | WEL 3.502
Printable syllabus (pdf)
Office: R.L. Moore 16.236
Phone: 471-3404 or Lab RLM 16.234, 471-6417
Email: dew 'at' astro.as.utexas.edu
Office Hours (subject to change): Th 9:45-10:45 (or by appointment)
TEXTBOOKS (These texts are not required for this course, but are highly recommended.)
Recommended: The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, 3rd Ed., by Pasachoff and Filippenko
An excellent and accessible textbook. A used copy is $40 cheaper and equally valuable.
Recommended: Astronomy: A Visual Guide, by Mark A. Garlick
A beautiful yet simple illustrated guide to the cosmos, featuring stunning photographs and illustrations. While not stocked at the University Co-Op, several used copies can be found at Half Price Books. New copies are available at most bookstores, and are $30 on amazon.com.
LEVEL OF COURSE
This course is a descriptive survey of the field of astronomy. I will not emphasize mathematics. However, an understanding of basic algebra will be helpful. The course will provide you with a perspective on the universe: its scale, structure, contents, and evolution.
EXAMS AND GRADES
There will be a total of four in-class exams. Your grade will be determined from the best three exam scores, weighted 25% each. Three homework assignments, equally weighted, will constitute 15% of your overall grade. An astronomical observing assignment will account for an additional 10%. You will have an optional semester project, on a topic of your choosing, to replace your lowest exam score; the topic must be approved by JJ or me in advance of the announced topic deadline. As a result of this policy, we do not give make-up exams.
OPTIONAL SEMESTER PROJECTS
The optional semester project is very open-ended, but should relate astronomy to something you are passionate about. For example, past students have submitted films they produced, written one act plays with the planets as anthropomorphic characters, written lesson plans for kindergarten classes, written position papers about colonizing other planets, and have made films with sock puppets. The deadline for optional semester project approval is Thursday, 30 September 2010. Please double check with JJ or me to make sure that we actually have your topic written down and not just simply verbally approved.