Astro 301 (50405)/Fall 2006
Introduction to Astronomy
Here is an example of a cool image from this course.
This picture, called the
Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), is the deepest visible-light image ever made of the Universe.
It consists of a one million-second exposure taken by the
Hubble Space Telescope in 2004. It reveal the very first galaxies forming
in the Universe and engaging in violent interactions more than 13 billion
years ago, shortly after the Big Bang.
Course Syllabus and Requirements
This course is an introduction to astronomy, one of the greatest
quests of humankind to understand the origin and evolution of the Universe.
In this course, you will learn about the constituents of
the Universe, such as stars, galaxies, planets, dark matter,
and the recently discovered dark energy.
We will study the beautiful physical laws that
govern their formation and evolution.
How did the universe begin in a Big Bang?
Over the course of time, how did the cosmic fluid
assemble into galaxies like our own, the Milky Way?
How do stars, planets, galaxies and black holes form and evolve?
What are current predictions for the future of our Galaxy and
Universe? Can science solve the ultimate mystery of Nature?
Before enrolling in this class, please read carefully
"Memo to Undergraduate Astronomy Students regarding Astronomy Courses."
, and the pre-requisites below.
This is a SCIENCE class designed for non-science majors.
No prior college-level science or math courses are needed, but
please note the following:
(a) In all astronomy classes, including this one, you will have
to learn physical principles and demonstrate scientific reasoning;
(b) you will be expected to understand and apply formulae
and astrophysical laws, such as those in
(c) you will be expected to use math at the level of high school
Course Textbook and Calendar:
The course will be primarily based on the lectures, where I will
cover material not discussed in the textbook and use interactive
fun learning aids (movies, animations, etc) to clarify new concepts.
The course textbook
``The Cosmic Perspective'', 4th or 3rd edition,
by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit,
and online material will provide complementary reading.
provides an approximate timeline and reading list (for the 4th and
3rd editions of the textbook) for the topics to be covered in class.
This calendar will be regularly updated as needed, so make sure to consult
the online version each week.
Guidelines for Exams, Homeworks, and Quizzes:
The quizzes, homeworks, and exams will test the
following: scientific reasoning and critical
thinking; knowledge of material covered in
class and in the assigned reading; ability
to apply physical principles, concepts and
astrophysical laws covered in class to simple
problems. There is no need to memorize numbers,
formuale, and constants for the quizzes and exams as
they will be provided.
Before lecture 2, please cover all examples in the
on basic mathematical skills
(taken from Appendix C of the textbook).
I will assume in all future lecture and assignments
(exams, quizzes, and homeworks) that you can work
out such examples.
Course Grade and Policies:
The final grade and grades for individual assignements will be posted online
If you want to do well in this course,
make it a point to attend class,
as the assignments are primarily based on the lectures.
The final grade will be divided between exams (45%), homework (30%),
and in-class activities (25%), as outlined below.
1. Three in-class exams will make up 3x15% or 45% of your final grade.
There will be no final comprehensive exam.
2. Your homework score will make up 30% of the final grade.
Late homework will not be accepted unless you have been granted
an extension prior to the due date, and in such a case, only
partial credit (50% or lower) will be given.
3. Your lowest in-class activity score will be dropped, and the remaining
scores will make up 25% of the final grade. The in-class activity
typically consists of multiple choice quiz questions, based on the
last lecture or reading.
4. When converting your final numerical grades to letter grades, I will use
the scheme below or one that is slightly more lenient.
85% to 100%
75% to 84%
60% to 74%
45% to 59%
0% to 44%
5. You are encouraged to study with other students, but you must
write up your own homework, exams, and quizzes.
Cheating will be severely punished:
if you copy someone's homework/quiz/exam or let someone copy yours,
both of you will receive zero credit, and I will consider filing
a report to the Dean of Students.
6. Under some circumstances, you may earn
extra credit (EC)
that can contribute up to 5% in your final score.
To earn EC, carry out
steps 1 to 4 on the certification site
and once you pass the test, bring me a note from the observatory
assistant stating clearly that you have passed the certification test
to use and check out the Painter Hall 9-inch refracting telescope.
that you should do this as early as possible
in the semester: if you wait till the last weeks and there
are weather or technical problems that require dome closure,
you will not qualify for this option.
Contact information and Office Hours:
This class A301/50405 meets on Tuesday and Thursdays from 11.00 to 12.30
pm in Welch 3.502. The instructor is Professor
Shardha Jogee and the teaching
assistants (TAs) are Biqing For, Candace Gray, and Irina Marinova.
If you need help, please consult us during the office hours
UT Learning Center
also provides a range of services designed to enhance both
individual learning and in-class performance.
Th 5-6 pm or by appointment
Mon 4-5 pm or by appointment
Wed 4.30-5.30 or by appointment
Bi Qing For
Tu 4.45-5.45 or by appointment
Before coming to class each week, read the assigned
for the 3rd or 4th editions of the textbook.
Selected Lecture Notes and Assignments
Your final grades have been posted on
and submitted to the Registar's office. We were generous
and gave extra credit (see below) of 5% for EC1-telescope,
0% to 1% for EC2-Surprise-Quiz, and 0.3% for
EC3-Class-Participation, as well as dropped the 2 worst quizzes.
The grade distribution is 47%=A, 28%=B, 14%=C, 7%=D, 4%=F. Well
done and have a good break!
Extra Credit for Final Score:
Three types of extra credit have been posted on
(1) EC1-telescope: Those of you who handed the certification slip
for the Painter Hall Telescope will get extra credit
that will boost your final score by 5%
(2) EC2-Surprise-Quiz: Those of you who submitted written answers
to the surprise in-class quiz question on the lifetime of
high mass stars will get EC that will boost your
final grade by an additional 0%, 0.5% or 1%, depending
on whether the answer is wrong, partially correct, or fully correct.
(3) EC3-Class Participation: Those who verbally answered extra credit
questions in class will be given EC that will boost your final grade
You will find below
figures from the lectures.
The main notes, explanations, movies, and demos will be covered
only in class
where in-class quiz/activities will count toward 25% of the final grade.
While UT is in session, the Astronomy Department hosts
three weekly viewing nights
for the UT community and the general public (bring your
friends). There is
a star party
on the roof of Robert Lee Moore (RLM) Hall
on Wednesdays and
a public viewing in Painter Hall
using the 9-inch refracting telescope
on Fridays and Saturdays.
Viewing times change throughout the year, so please check
the viewing page or call 512-471-5007 for current times.
Internet Images and Articles