PRINCE GEORGE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Department of Physical Science and Engineering
Engineering Program
Welcome to Astronomy Laboratory!
PSC-1020 Introduction to Astronomy Laboratory
LE01
Spring 2009

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-1020) in the subject of any e-mails to me during the Spring 2009 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: PSC-1020: Need help understanding the Object X laboratory: CCGP07

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

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

OFFICE HOURS: M 7:15-9:15pm; TTh 6:00-7:30pm, 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:

PSC-1020 is designed to provide a hands-on laboratory experience to accompany lectures in astronomy. The goal will be to give you a feel for what real astronomers do and the rewards and difficulties in scientific studies.

PREREQUISITES:

Reading Proficiency

COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES:

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

  1. Explain daily and annual motions in the heavens.

  2. Use astronomical devices such as star charts.

  3. Interface with planetarium software packages, analysis software packages, and astronomical internet sites.

  4. Compare and contrast astronomical digital images.

  5. Compare and contrast spectra of celestial objects.

  6. Describe the vast distances between astronomical objects.

Lab material:

Exploring the Universe: Laboratory Activities for PSC 102 3rd Edition.  Sinex, Scott, Gage, Barbara, and Hunt, Chris.  PGCC (1999). Available Free.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK:

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

OTHER REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS:

  1. Lab material to be done that day, Pens, Pencils, Eraser, Straight edge, Paper, String, Transparencies, 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. Each of the four labs that are not CLEA labs or homework is worth 10% of your grade.

  2. The CLEA lab for Solar Rotation is worth 5% of your grade.

  3. The CLEA lab for Object X is worth 25% of your grade.

  4. The CLEA lab for H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters is worth 20% of your grade.

  5. Homework is worth a total of 10% of the grade.

HOW ASSIGNMENTS ARE TO BE SUBMITTED

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

  2. Make-up labs are up to the discretion of the teacher (excused absences only).

EXPERIMENT OUTLINE

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

HOMEWORK DUE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: Astromath 101, Night Sky Observation AND Determining Solar Altitude Using the Gnomon

Week 1 Scaling the Universe

Week 2 Charting the Heavens Using a Star Chart -- On-line star charts (really Planispheres)are available.

Week 3 Charting the Heavens Using a Virtual Planetarium -- Software described in this lab is not the one we will use we will use newer products.

Week 4 Exploring the Geology of the Earth

Week 5 Exploring the Geology of Other Worlds

Week 6 Solar Rotation Lab

Week 7 Object X {for analysis of FITS file (when doing CCD imaging) you would probably like to use DS9}

Week 8 Object X

Week 9 Object X

Week 10 Object X

Week 11 H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters

Week 12 H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters

Week 13 H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters

Week 14 H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters

Week 15 H-R Diagrams of Star Clusters

Reading assignments are as follows: Use the Introduction to Astronomy textbook (PSC-1010) to get additional material for the course

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 16

Last day to apply for spring graduation

Tuesday, February 17

Midterm - middle of semester; class will speed up

Wednesday, March 18

Spring break. COLLEGE CLOSED for the week.

Monday-Sunday, April 6 to April 12

Last day to withdraw from full semester classes

Friday, April 17

Last Day of regular classes for the Spring Semester

Wednesday, May 6

Final exam

Wednesday, May 13

LAB INFORMATION

Lab will be held in CAT-305 or at any computer you wish!

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