PRINCE GEORGE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Department of Physical Science and Engineering
Welcome to Astronomy!
PSC-1010 Introduction to Astronomy
LD03
Spring 2017

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

OFFICE: Official office is CAT-229R; but unofficial office is CAT-305 (better place to find me)

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

PHONE NUMBERS: 301-546-0420 (Department Main Line) or 301-546-7536 (Office)

E-MAIL ADDRESS : sdjohnson@pgcc.edu

To facilitate e-mail communication with me, please include the following information: The course designation (PSC-1010) and the subject of any e-mails to me during the Spring 2017 semester. Note: All credit students (with the exception of Howard Community College students enrolled at Laurel College Center) are required to use Owl Mail for all college communication.

Example: PSC1010: Need help understanding the big bang

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

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

OFFICE HOURS: MW 4:00-4:30pm; TTh 3:00-3:30pm and 6:00-7:30pm, by appointment all other times

Note: Part or all of the office hours might be in CAT-305 as student questions warrant.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course is designed to give you an appreciation and working knowledge of astronomy and science in general. The scope of the course is the scientific understanding of the universe in which we live in.

CREDIT HOUR EXPLANATION:

At Prince George's Community College, for all credit course, students are expected to spend a minimum of 45 combined hours of instructional time and related coursework time per credit hour. This course is a 3 credit course. This course achieves the minimum of 135 hours of instructional time by requiring 37.5 hours of instructional time and 97.5 hours of student work outside of instructional time. Minimum outside instructional time assumes the student is aiming for a C, not an A.

PREREQUISITES:

Reading Proficiency

COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  • Students passing this course will be able to accomplish all of the outcomes listed below.
  • Students will demonstrate their attainment of these outcomes through the planned assessments. So, for each course learning outcome, indicate briefly the planned assessment tools, such as cases, essay, multiple choice questions, etc.
  • Courses seeking general education status must address all pertinent general education outcomes in the below alignment.

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


Course Outcome

Measurable Outcome Addressed through the Course Outcome

Student Core Competency

Analyze the methods of science and how they are used in astronomy

Advance students' ability to interpret qualitative and quantitative data for the purpose of solving problems; Advance students' ability to evaluate ethical principles and apply them in professional and personal decision making

Students will select the appropriate approach(s) (e.g., numerical, graphical, symbolic, and verbal) and use multiple problem solving tools (e.g., symbolic/algebraic notation, graphs, and tables) to identify, analyze, and solve problems. Students will identify and evaluate ethical concepts, issues, and cases in the context of their particular disciplines. Students will uphold academic integrity, demonstrating an understanding of the forms of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, as well as the consequences of academic dishonesty and effective prevention strategies. In applying ethical principles in academic contexts, students will engage source materials responsibly, representing viewpoints accurately through summaries, paraphrases, and quotations; students will use approp riate, discipline-specific documentation styles to attribute source materials explicitly and directly. Students will also apply ethical principles and/or discipline- specific rules to solve actual or hypothetiical problems relevant to their discipline


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

Advance students' ability to evaluate ethical principles and apply them in professional and personal decision making; Advance students' ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate

Students will demonstrate their critical thinking through answering questions and making statements and then defend the validity of these responses and statements. Students will argue a point of view, both verbally and in writing, in a succinct, well-organized and logical manner. Students will produce well-reasoned arguments on topics and ideas based on evidence. Students will identify and evaluate ethical concepts, issues, and cases in the context of their particular disciplines. Students will uphold academic integrity, demonstrating an understanding of the forms of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, as well as the consequences of academic dishonesty and effective prevention strategies. In applying ethical principles in academic contexts, students will engage source materials responsibly, representing viewpoints accurately through summaries, paraphrases, and quotations; students will use approp riate, discipline-specific documentation styles to attribute source materials explicitly and directly. Students will also apply ethical principles and/or discipline- specific rules to solve actual or hypothetiical problems relevant to their discipline


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

Advance students' ability to evaluate findings and evidence

Students will identify key concepts and terms that describe the information necessary for course work and identifies various sources of in formation available for course work. Students will use various sources, including textbooks and online databases, to access needed information, to gather information, and to evaluate the quality of the information obtained. Students will use the information gathered to support writing, speaking, and other requirements in courses


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

Advance students' ability to interpret and apply scientific data; Advance the students' ability to understand and explain natural processes

Students will apply the scientific method of inquiry to draw conclusions, use scientific theories to explain physical phenomena or occurrences, and explain the impact of scientific theories, discoveries, and technological changes on society

Discuss mechanisms of stellar astronomy, especially stellar evolution

Advance students' ability to read at the college level

While reading, students will identify the main idea and the details/evidence of the text and understand or infer the meaning of the language in the text. When analyzing college-level materials, students will identify the purpose, point of view, tone, and main points of the text and draw conclusions and infer meaning. Students will also assess the quality of the evidence presented and its relevance to their purpose


Describe aspects of galactic astronomy and the extrastellar environment

Advance students' ability to communicate at the college level

Students' writing will contain clear and concise sentences; unified, coherent, and well-developed paragraphs; and a logical organizational structure. Their writing should also reflect an awareness of audience and be appropriate for the assignment's rhetorical situation. Grammar and usage rules should be applied correctly, and appropriate diction should be used. Students will communicate effectively using S tandard English by adhering to standard grammar and usage rules, using appropriate diction and non-verbal cues, taking into account audience and rhetorical situation and organizing ideas logically


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

Advance students' ability to evaluate findings and evidence

Students will identify key concepts and terms that describe the information necessary for course work and identifies various sources of in formation available for course work. Students will use various sources, including textbooks and online databases, to access needed information, to gather information, and to evaluate the quality of the information obtained. Students will use the information gathered to support writing, speaking, and other requirements in courses


Demonstrate basic understanding of scientific concepts sufficient to understand layman science articles in the media

Advance students' ability to evaluate scientific conclusions in layman articles for the purpose of understanding media at a college level

Students will identify key concepts and terms that describe the information necessary for discourse outside of academic work. Students will use various sources, including newspapers (or digital equivalent) and magazines to access information and to evaluate the quality of the information obtained. Students will use the information gathered to support writing, speaking, and other requirements in courses


REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:

Handouts, lecture notes, and a good astronomy textbook. Most of the handouts are professional handouts that will need explaination for an Introduction to Astronomy level so it is VERY IMPORTANT YOU ATTEND CLASS.
Any college-level astronomy book is acceptable. Ask instructor if it is "college-level."

RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOK:

Exploration: An Introduction to Astronomy 8th Edition. Arny, Thomas T. and Schneider, Stephen E. McGraw-Hill (2017). -- Recommended, however there are equally good less expensive books available if you are tight on financial resources. Please see instructor.

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. Note that a grade of zero will be given to anyone who copies their work. All work from the beginning of the class is subject to re-grade if academic dishonesty is suspected.

  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.

Grades are assigned based on the grading policy stated in this syllabus and not the Blackboard grade book.

The scale used for grades in this class is the "Modern Standard Grading Scale" as defined in the COLLEGE RESOURCES and SERVICES link below.

WITHDRAWAL STATEMENT

As the semester continues, I hope to see all of you staying in my course and doing well. However, if you are considering withdrawing from this course, your withdrawal may result in financial aid and /or academic standing implications. Therefore, if you are considering withdrawing at any point, please speak with me before making a final decision. I may be able to offer to direct you to help. If I am unavailable, please contact Mark Hubley via email at hubleymj@pgcc.edu or telephone at 301-546-0420.

NA and FX GRADES:

There are no Q grades any more; they have been replaced with "NA Grade" and "FX Grade."

The NA GRADE may be assigned by the faculty member to any student on the roster who never attends or academically participates in the class during the first three weeks of class (or equivalent of 20 percent in short courses).

The FX GRADE may be assigned by the faculty member to any student on the roster who did not officially withdraw from the course but who failed to participate in course activities through the end of the period. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible.

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 your astronomy 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 are not allowed in the classroom.

  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:


COLLEGE CLOSED: No classes - President's Day.

Monday, February 20

Midterm - middle of semester; classes will speed up

Wednesday, March 8

Spring break. COLLEGE CLOSED for the week. No classes.

Monday-Sunday, April 10 to April 16

Last day to withdraw from full semester classes

Friday, April 21

Last Day of regular classes for the Spring Semester

Monday, May 8

Final exam

Thursday, May 11

LAB INFORMATION:

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

COLLEGE RESOURCES and SERVICES