AST 307


Readings & Resources


Lecture Slides

Index Cards

Out of Class Events


Exams & Grading

Announcements Archive


Web Pages for some of NASA's current Solar System and Exoplanet Missions:

For the status of and information about NASA's MESSENGER Mission to Mercury, which has obtained the first images of some portions of Mercury's surface that we had never seen before.

Cassini - NASA
The Cassini spacecraft is continuing to study Saturn and its rings and satellites. Multiple fly-bys of both Enceladus (which may have a liquid water ocean under its surface ice) and Titan occurred in 2008.
Also see

New Horizons - NASA
The home page of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt offers a report on what the spacecraft saw when it flew past Jupiter in 2007, and information on its intended future activities.

Kepler - NASA
Home page of the Kepler mission, just launched, on March 6, 2009, which will search for transiting planets as small as the Earth, around other stars.

PlanetQuest - NASA
An umbrella web page for exoplanet-related projects and research coordinated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Try some of the links, for example, which reviews the main planet-finding methods.

Up-to-Date Information on Exoplanets - California & Carnegie Planet Search Team Home Page
Maintained by one of the most active exoplanet search groups, this web site includes a complete Catalog of Nearby Exoplanets, as well as feature stories on some recent exoplanet discoveries.

Scale of the Universe

Powers of Ten - video comparing the scales of structures in the universe
This is the original, classic version (created in 1977 by IBM) of the cosmic "zoom" from human scales up to the Universe at large, and then down to subatomic scales. it runs for over 9 minutes. Due to copyright restrictions, it is posted on a secure website for which the password will be given in class.

Powers of Ten - the unofficial version
A rather blurry and shaky version of the original, substituting spooky background music for the narration of Philip Morrison. Also available at this posting, the 1-minute "Simpsons" spoof.

This Week's Sky

This Week's Sky at a Glance - Sky & Telescope
This page shows the configuration of bright objects (Moon, planets, stars) in the sky this week.