Office: RLM 16.332
Hours: TTh 11-12 & after class
Phone: (512) 471-1469
The New Solar System, 4th ed., Beatty, Petersen & Chaikin
AST 301 or equivalent introduction to astronomy.
We will discuss the planets, moons, and other bodies in the solar system. Our emphasis will be on
how the solar system bodies got to be like they are and why they differ as they do. This course is for
non-science majors, and we do not expect you to have taken any Physics courses. But we will be
discussing physical laws and how they apply to the solar system. And we will at times put numbers
Reading & Homework
One or two chapters of reading will be assigned each week. You must do the reading by Wednesday,
and your assignment for each Wednesday is to write one sentence about each of the three most important
topics in the reading. You must also write down at least one topic from the reading that you found
confusing and would like to have explained more. An ongoing assignment for the semester will be to
watch the planets and keep a record of your observations. In addition, we will occasionally have other
homework assignments involving observations or calculations. You are encouraged to work together
on homework, but you must write out your own answers in your own words. Duplicate homeworks will
not receive credit. Late homeworks will receive half credit.
There will be 5 exams (see the schedule on back) and no final. Your lowest exam score will be dropped.
Late exams will not be given. If you miss an exam it will be the one that will be dropped. But let us know
if you have a good reason for having missed an exam. The exams will cover material from both class and
the reading. The exams will be closed-book and closed-notes, and calculators will not be allowed (or needed).