revised 1/12/09 at 4pm
If you are new to Astronomy 20, take a a few minutes to read the course
description and information below. The timeline for everything you
need to do in the class is contained in the Weekly
You will see the link for this webpage at the top of this page. Please check it out as soon
as you can! If you have questions about anything in this document, please ask in class on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 - 10:45 in room 2490.
General Course Information
Astro 20 is a
one semester introduction to the sun and stars, galaxies, large scale
structure of the Universe, and other mysterious objects that illuminate
our night sky . Along the way, we will explore the motions of the
Sun, Earth, and moon, and develop an appreciation for the tremendous
scale of distances in cosmos. We will also study the earliest moments
of of the Universe, and the relationship between those early times
and and world we live in today. Another important component of Astronomy
20 is the study of how astronomers do their work, and how the tools
of astronomy, such as telescopes and detectors allow us to peer into
the darkest corners of the cosmos.
Learning and processing the big picture presented in astronomy 20
will take a serious commitment of time and concentration. To provide
a point a reference, students are advised to set aside nine hours per week
for the class--three hours in class, and six studying and working through class materials. My best advice is to try to do something
related to astronomy every day until you find a pace
In simplest terms, you
will need to do six things to succeed in this class. In order of importance
to your grade, they are
- come to class regularly, take notes, and complete worksheets as handed out.
- Study material
from your textbook and websites listed in the class syllabus (working with classmates is highly recommended)
- prepare for and take five quizzes.
- complete Assignments
from the Mastering
- take a final
- ask questions and get help from your instructor
Astronomy 20 -
INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY: STARS AND THE UNIVERSE - 3 units
the study of stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Includes the nature of
light, telescopes, spectroscopy, stellar formation and evolution,
galaxies, quasars, and cosmology. Designed for non- majors in mathematics
or a physical science. A companion science lab, Astronomy
30, is also available. 3 hours
Mastering Astronomy Access Code
you purchase your text new in the bookstore, a code for accessing
the Mastering Astronomy Website will be included in an insert
in your text. If you purchase your book used, or elsewhere,
you will need to purchase an access code once you log on the
Mastering Astronomy. The cost is approximately $27. Note that
you must enter the class id: MAHARPELL2009 when you register for the site using your access code.
Other Course materials:
access: Access to Computer with working
Internet connection at home. If your connection goes down for a
few days there are a large number of computers available on campus
at Las Positas College (try the
Learning Resource Center). Local Libraries, Internet cafes,
and community colleges also have Internet access. You are responsible
for keeping up with class work regardless of the status of your
Analemma Over the Porch of Maidens
and Assessment .
Astronomy 20 will be based on your performance on mastering astronomy assignments, 5 in-class quizzes,
a final exam, and class attendance and participation. Each
these graded items will be discussed in more detail below.
You are expected to come to class regularly. Although attendance will not be taken each week, worksheets will be passed out and collected weekly or by-weekly. Although these will not be rigorously graded for correctness, they will be checked for effort and of course, for attendance. Approximately 65% of the points for attendance and participation will come from these worksheets and class attendance records. The remaining points will come simply from your instructors determination of the level of effort you have made to come to class and understand class material.
will be 5 quizzes on dates given in the schedule. Quizzes
will be based on lectures, worksheets, textbook material, and Mastering Astronomy assignments. Three quizzes will be traditional in-class quizzes with essay, short answer, and multiple choice. Two of the quizzes with be on-line through blackboard. The producure for taking this quizzes will be explained in class.
In class quiz questions will not be drawn from external websites (those linked to the class), although they may be of help from time to time. On-line qjuizzes are open notes, open book and open internet, so they may contain questions that require a bit of research. Students coming regularly to class will be prepared for the quizzes by participating on the worksheets and also studying from review sheets handed out or placed on line prior to the quizzes.
Missed or late Quizzes:
Your final exam can replace your lowest or missed quiz. In other words, if you do well on the final, it counts double and your lowest quiz score will disappear! . If you have missed one quiz, then the final exam percentage will automatically replace the missing quiz. If you miss a second quiz, you will be allowed to make it up with a 15 % late penalty within ten days of the original quiz.. If you know you are going to miss a quiz in advance, please see your instructor for alternative arrangements.
from Mastering Astronomy
Mastering Astronomy Website
is portal to learning astronomy over the Internet. This site
is found at www.masteringastronomy.com.
that you must enter the class id:MAHARPELL2009 when
you register for the site using your access code.
Word of warning: DO NOT IGNORE THE
Mastering astronomy website!
Tutorials and Quizzes from this site are particularly useful and are a required
part of the class! The Mastering Astronomy website is designed,
created, and updated by the publishers of your textbook. A guide to
getting started in the is included below. You
are graded for completing assignments in the "assignment list"
in mastering astronomy on a scale of 20 points. It is best to
complete the assignments after you finish reading each chapter,.and
before you take the appropriate quiz in blackboard. A schedule of
assignments in mastering astronomy is found in the class schedule/syllabus.
Note that Mastering Astronomy contains many more tutorials than the
ones listed here. You can access the "extra" tutorials,
as well as practice quizzes and interactive figures by clicking on
the tabs beneath the "study area". . For full credit, you
must get 80% or better.If you get less than 80% you grade will be
computed by taking your percentage dived by 80%, and then multiplied
by 100% or 20 points. So if you get 50%, for example, your score
will be 50/80 x 100% = 63% or 12.5 points. You can easily get over 80% however, but
practicing the tutorials and quizzes in the study area.
be sure to Read the Guide
to Mastering Astronomy
When you register
for the mastering Astronomy website, be sure to enter the class
you purchase your text new in the bookstore, a code for accessing
the Mastering Astronomy will be included in an insert in your text.
If you purchase your book used, or elsewhere, you will need to purchase
an access code once you log on the Mastering Astronomy. The cost is
will be based on total points as follows:
- tutorials from
Mastering Astronomy--100 points
- 5 in class quizzes
- a final exam 50
- course participation
total = 450 pts
Grades (out of 450 possible points)
Ask questions during class, or after class...even better, come to your instructors office hours in room 1830 (I may also be next door to 1824).
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