PRINCE GEORGE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Department of Physical Science and Engineering
Engineering Program
Welcome to Astronomy!
PSC-1010 Introduction to Astronomy
Number LD03
Spring 2010

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Scott D. Johnson, Associate Professor, Engineering Coordinator, Physical Sciences and Engineering

OFFICE: CAT-229R (or HT-229R)

OTHER LOCATIONS : CH-100 (Department), the classroom (CAT-305) proper, or the Cyber Cafe

PHONE NUMBERS: 301-386-7536 (Office) or 301-322-0420 (Department Main Line)

E-MAIL ADDRESS : sdjohnson@pgcc.edu

To facilitate e-mail communication with me, please include the following code: CCGP07 along with the course designation (PSC-1010) in the subject of any e-mails to me during the Spring 2010 semester. The code stops legitimate e-mail messages from being evaluated wrongly as SPAM but does not allow e-mails that contain a virus or illegal attachment into our network.

Example: PSC1010: Need help understanding the solar system: CCGP07

ENGINEERING PROGRAM'S WEB PAGE: http://academic.pgcc.edu/~sjohnson/engineering.html

PROFESSOR'S WEB PAGE: http://academic.pgcc.edu/~sjohnson

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 1:00-3:30pm; Thursday 1:00-3:30pm, by appointment all other times Note: (part or all of the office hours might be in the classroom [CAT-305] as student questions warrant).

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course is designed to give you a working knowledge of the vast and magnificent universe in which you live. It will be illustrative not only of the myriad of wonders that exist in the cosmos, but also of the scientific principles which govern nature. Only on a very few occasions will mathematics of any sort be used in this course.

PREREQUISITES:

Reading Proficiency

COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Upon successful completion of the course a student will be able to

  1. Analyze the scientific method and how it has been used in astronomy.

  2. Evaluate historical development of models of the solar system and universe and the achievements which have led to our modern perception.

  3. Appraise the tools and methods which astronomers use, and the ways in which astronomical information is obtained, including the nature and properties of light.

  4. Compare and contrast worlds of the solar system, analyze and interpret the uniform processes that they undergo.

  5. Discuss mechanisms of stellar astronomy, especially stellar evolution.

  6. Describe aspects of galactic astronomy and the extrastellar environment.

  7. Explain our current models of the birth and evolution of the universe and solar system.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:

Exploration: An Introduction to Astronomy 5th Edition. Arny, Thomas T. and Schneider, Stephen E. McGraw-Hill (2008).

OTHER REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS:

  1. Textbook, Pens, Pencils, Eraser, Straight edge, Paper, and Calculator are required for every class.

OUTSIDE CLASS REQUIREMENTS:

As with any class an amount of time at least equivalent to two times the credit hours is expected to be performed for homework and labs. Please allot sufficient time for homework.

Homework will be assigned each week including the first week.

GRADING CRITERIA:

Evaluation of student performance is to be based on:

  1. Out-of-class projects worth a total of 10% of your grade.

  2. A set of quizzes that are worth a total of 30% of the grade.

  3. Midterm Exam that is cumulative. This exam is worth 30% of the grade.

  4. Final Exam that is cumulative stressing the second half of the semester. This exam is worth 30% of the grade.

Q GRADES:

Students are expected to attend and participate in class activities. Students who either never attended the class or who ceased attendance during the first 20 percent of the course will be assigned a "Q" grade by the instructor. The Q grade is a final grade and will not be replaced with a different grade at a later time. Although the Q grade will not impact students GPA, the issuance of a Q grade will likely decrease students financial aid awards.

HOW ASSIGNMENTS ARE TO BE SUBMITTED

  1. Homework is due at the start of class (or before) except for in-class projects.

  2. Make-up homework, quizzes, and/or tests are up to the discretion of the teacher (excused absences only).

COURSE OUTLINE

New topics are to be covered each week and include but are not limited to the following subjects. This outline is subject to change.

Week 1 Introduction to Astronomy

Week 2 The Nature of Light

Week 3 Using Light to measure distances; how do we do that?

Week 4 Atoms and Light

Week 5 A Touch of Astronomical History

Week 6 Telescopes

Week 7 Detectors

Week 8 Astronomical Techniques

Week 9 The Earth

Week 10 The Sun

Week 11 The Planets

Week 12 Stars

Week 13 Stellar Evolution

Week 14 Galaxies

Week 15 Cosmology

Reading assignments are as follows: Read the book. I will only go over the essentials; extra detail will be in the book.

Tests will be announced a week before and will depend on our progress in the classroom.

CLASSROOM POLICIES

  1. Food and drink in limited quantities (snacks, not meals) are permitted in restricted areas (not near electronics or computers) and will be revoked if proper cleanliness is found wanting.

  2. Cell phones must be in vibrate mode and are only to be answered for emergencies (step outside please).

  3. Common courtesy is to apply at all times.

IMPORTANT DATES

President's Day. COLLEGE CLOSED

Monday, February 15

Last day to apply for spring graduation

Tuesday, February 16

Winter Holiday (Snowstorm "fun" week). COLLEGE CLOSED.

Sunday-Thursday, February 7 to February 11

Midterm - middle of semester; class will speed up

Tuesday, March 23

Spring break. COLLEGE CLOSED for the week.

Monday-Sunday, March 29 to April 4

Last day to withdraw from full semester classes

Friday, April 23

Last Day of regular classes for the Spring Semester

Monday, May 17

Final exam

Thursday, May 20

LAB INFORMATION

The related lab to this course is PSC-1020, there is no lab in this class.

COLLEGE RESOURCES and SERVICES