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AST 101L · Astronomy Discovery Lab    1   2  

T 9/5, W 8/30
   Introduction, questionnaire
T 9/12, W 9/6
   Learn about observing procedure
Introduction to Starry Night
T 9/19, W 9/13
   Set up groups, choose labs
First 3-class period begins
T 10/10, W 10/4
   All materials from first period due
Second 3-class period begins
T 10/31, W 10/25
   All materials from second period due
Third 3-class period begins
T 11/21, W 11/15
   All materials from third period due
Last possible observing night
Last day to hand in any make-up work

3. Grading

A grade will be assigned for your performance on each topic. It will be based on material you will hand in, a group presentation or report, and your demonstration of what your group has done in a meeting with the TA at the end of each 3-class period. You will work together to learn the material from each topic and produce a report or presentation, but each of you must understand what is in the report and what was done in your experiments. Members of a single group will not necessarily all receive the same grade based on the discretion of the professor and TA.

Individually, for each completed segment, the student will be assigned a letter grade based on the materials and presentations.
   Complete, Superior performance on most aspects
   Adequate performance on all aspects
   Incomplete, or complete but inadequate performance on all aspects
Ninety percent of the student's final grade will be calculated from the average of three segment grades. The remaining 10% will be for participation credit. Students missing more than 2 class sessions (after the 2nd week of classes) will receive zero participation credit. Absences may also affect the student's segment grades.

With an excused absence, students can make up two classes by arranging with the TA to attend at one of the alternate times. Students doing the unaided eye observing must obtain one "night participation credit" and students doing the telescope observing two such credits from the TA. Failure to participate at the required level will lower your final grade by one full letter. Be aware also that actual active participation in your group's activities counts as part of your performance on the segments.

4. Topics

There are currently five discovery kits, of which each group will choose three.
  1. Unaided Eye Astronomy. You will learn about what astronomers studied before the invention of the telescope - positions of stars, motions of the Sun and stars, and measurements you can make with simple instruments.
  2. Observing with Telescopes and Digital Cameras. You will learn to use computer-controlled telescopes and CCD cameras to take wide-angle photographs of the sky.
  3. Newton's Laws and Toys. Your group will make a video demonstration of Newton's Laws of motion.
  4. Optics: Lasers, Mirrors, and Jello. You will learn about how light reflects from mirrors and refracts in Jello and air.
  5. Optics: Lenses, Cameras, and Telescopes. You will learn about how lenses work and how astronomical instruments can be made from them.
5. Office Hours

The TA will be available during the following times (office: RLM 16.212):
Additional hours will be announced on our web page once we know which hours will serve the most people. During these times, you can gain access to the equipment or ask questions of the TA. If you are unavailable during these times, please contact the TA for other times. Also, you will be expected to attend during the normally scheduled class time unless otherwise instructed.

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31 August 2006
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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