The Nature of the Universe
This course provides a broad introduction to astronomy and our
place in the universe. We will start by discussing the mind-bogglingly
vast range in physical scales spanned by astronomy,
and then learn how we can perform astronomical observations
in our everyday lives.
We will then follow the history of astronomy as a science,
reviewing the fundamental physical concepts of motion,
energy, gravity, and light on which it
is based, along with the tools used to make astronomical measurements.
After these preliminaries, we will delve into the nature of
planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole. At the
end of this course, students should appreciate the beauty
and power of the scientific method as it applies to astronomy.
Office: 3-931 PAB
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:00-5:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, 10:30 - 11:45 am; Kinsey Pavilion 1220B
Discussion Sections (all in Knudsen 1116):
1A Monday 8:00 - 9:50 am; TA: Mathew Yu
1B Monday 12:00 - 1:50 pm; TA: Mathew Yu
1C Tuesday 8:30 - 10:20 am; TA: Jordan Runco
1D Monday 4:00 - 5:50 pm; TA: Jordan Runco
1E Tuesday 3:00 - 4:50 am; TA: Evan Jones
1F Wednesday 6:00 - 7:50 pm; TA: Evan Jones
The Essential Cosmic Perspective (8th Edition, 2017) (required)
Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, Voit
Astro 3 Lab Manual: Package of Lab exercises for discussion
A simple calculator is HIGHLY recommended, though not required.
Concept Test Card Sheet
- Lab Assignments
20%: Weekly required assignments completed during 2-hour discussion section.
10%: Weekly on-line quizzes based on lectures and reading (10-15 questions/week).
- First Midterm
20%: Multiple-choice in-class exam (October 24th).
- Second Midterm
20%: Multiple-choice in-class exam (November 14th).
- Final Exam
30%: Primarily multiple-choice exam (December 15th).
Lab assignments are required. You must attend lab starting week 2 of the quarter.
Labs for the course will be performed in the lab classroom (Knudsen 1116)
during the 2-hour discussion section, and are to be handed in
at the conclusion of the discussion section. Attendence is required
for labs. If you miss a lab for a valid reason, you should
try to attend another section that same week (not later in the
quarter). To attend another section, you must contact lead TA Mathew Yu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
as early as possible, and he will help you resolve the situation.
If for whatever reason this is not possible then contact your TA within
7 days after the missed lab to discuss an alternate assignment
for make-up credit. ONLY ONE MAKE-UP WILL BE ALLOWED PER QUARTER.
Other missed labs will earn you a zero score. You must complete at least 5 labs or else
you will receive an "Incomplete" in Astro 3. DON'T LET
THIS HAPPEN. Exams may draw from topics covered during lab sessions.
Homework will be assigned roughly every week (starting week 1)
and will consist of on-line quizzes based on lectures and reading
(~10-15 questions per week), in addition to the reading assignments
from the textbook. Quizzes will be due at 10 pm on each Monday, unless
otherwise announced. No late homework will be accepted. At
least 5 homework assignments must be turned in to pass the course.
Exams will consist of two midterms in class, each worth 20%, and a
final exam worth 30%. The first midterm will take place on Tuesday, October
23rd, and the second one on Tuesday, November 13th. The final
exam will be on Tuesday, December 11th, from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.
The exams will be (almost) exclusively based on
multiple choice questions.
Extra Credit opportunities will be announced during the quarter.
We will review all the basic physical concepts required for understanding
the material in the course. However, we expect a knowledge of
entry-level UC mathematics (algebra, geometry, and basic trigonometry).