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Astronomy 309L - Spring 2005
MWF 2:00 - 3:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 46765


John Scalo
Office: RLM 17.220
Phone: 471-6446 (o)
(512) 478-2748 (h)
(home-best place to call me)

Course Website

arecibo radio telescope


Nairn Baliber
Office: RLM 16.308
Hours: Tu 1-3, Th 3-5,
Phone: (512) 471-3453
Email: baliber@astro

Office Hours
Office hours: M 4:30-5:30, W 4:45-6:00. Meetings at other times can be easily arranged. However I urge you to feel free to call me at my home or office, or to talk to me after class (in the foyer just outside the classroom—I have free time after most of our classes except on Wednesdays); for short questions there is usually no need for you to walk all the way to my office, and I welcome phone calls at home.

Class Website
The course website will contain the syllabus, an outline of most class lectures, and illustrations you can download; extra reading in the form of articles that will be assigned (you can read them online or print them); a way for you to easily check your exam scores; and a simple way for me to distribute handouts or make slight revisions to the reading assignments. I will explain downloading of articles to you in class. I urge you to check the website often.

Required book:  Bennett, Shostak, & Jakosky (BSJ), Life in the Universe (1st ed., 2003) (This book is expensive, but was used in the Fall, and last Spring, so you should be able to locate a used copy; even if not, you will be able to get the "rebate" by selling your book at the end of the semester, unless you form a deep emotional attachment to it, as I'm sure you will.)

This is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field, so the textbook will have to be supplemented by the lectures and by outside readings. These additional readings will be made available through the class web site and on reserve at one or more of the UT libraries.

A list of the reading assignments for each topic covered in the course is given below. More detailed guides to the reading assignments will be handed out separately.

Exams: 100% of your grade will be based on five exams. All exams will be weighted equally except that your lowest exam score will only receive a weight of 1/2 compared to the others. So you have to take all the exams, but if you have an off day (or week, etc.) it won't hurt your final grade too much. The topics and dates of the exams (tentative—any changes will be announced heavily in class and at the class website) are listed below. There will be no comprehensive final.

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7 February 2005
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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