PHY 110: Astronomy and Cosmology

Stars, Galaxies and the Universe

 

Fall 2010

Prof. Gawiser's WebsiteAstronomy at RutgersDepartment of Physics & AstronomyRutgers University

Last updated August 15, 2010



1. At First Glance

Instructor

Prof. Eric Gawiser; Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:30-2:30 PM in Serin Physics Lab W303.

Class Hours and Venue

Tuesday and Friday (12:00-1:20)
Physics Lecture Hall, Busch Campus

Quizzes

At the beginning of each lecture using the iClicker personal response systems

Exams

Midterm Exam: Friday, Oct 22nd, in class
Final Exam: Wednesday, Dec 22nd, 8AM, in the Physics Lecture Hall (our regular classroom). Covers material since the midterm (Chapters 11-15).
Make-up Exam: Thursday, Dec. 23rd, 9:30AM, ARC 108 (Busch Campus) - Dean's Note needed to justify absence from regular final. The make-up exam covers the entire course.

 

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2. Course Description

This course describes the properties of gravity, light, stars and galaxies, and the past, present and future of the Universe. There are no college-level prerequisites, but typical high school algebra and science preparation are assumed. The companion course, PHY109, covers the historical foundations of astronomy, the tools and techniques used by modern astronomers, the planets, moons, and minor bodies of our solar system, and the processes by which they formed. The two courses are independent; if you wish to take both, they can be taken in either order or concurrently.

Note that this course is intended for non-science majors. Students with college-level math and science credits should consider taking PHY341 and/or PHY342, instead. Those courses cover much of the same material as PHY110 and PHY109, but at a more advanced level.

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3. Instructor

This is the official website of Section 1 (the only Section) of PHY110 for Fall 2010. The instructor for this course and section (and the author of this website) is:

Prof. Eric Gawiser
Room 303, West Wing
Physics and Astronomy Building (Serin Labs), Busch Campus
Phone: (732)-445-5500x2733

In addition to my regularly scheduled office hours, I am available to offer help and answer questions for a few minutes just before, or just after, each lecture.

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4. Office Hours

My office hours are Tuesdays after lecture (1:30-2:30) in Serin Physics Building 303W.

We have a PHY110 "virtual classroom" setup through Rutgers' Sakai system. This is the best place to submit questions about course material or logistics. Emails on these topics will not be responded to directly, rather I will post them anonymously on Sakai along with the answers. You are of course welcome to email me at

gawiser@physics.rutgers.edu
with emergencies or confidential issues - please make it clear in the subject line that this is referring to PHY110 and if it should remain private.

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5. Lecture Schedule

The lecture schedule is posted below, along with the relevant material from the textbook.

LECTURE

DATE

TOPIC

CHAPTERS

1

Sep 3
(Fri.)

INTRODUCTION. COURSE OVERVIEW AND GOALS.

 

2

Sep 7
(Tues.)

ASTRONOMY BASICS, iCLICKER PRACTICE

1

3

Sep 10
(Fri.)

SEASONS

2

4

Sep 14
(Tues.)

PHASES OF THE MOON

2, Appendix C

5

Sep 17
(Fri.)

TELESCOPES

3

6

Sep 21
(Tues.)

GRAVITY

3

7

Sep 24
(Fri.)

THE SUN

8

8

Sep 28
(Tues.)

THE NATURE OF STARS

8

9

Oct 1
(Fri.)

STELLAR LIVES

9

10

Oct 5
(Tues.)

STELLAR DEATHS

9

11

Oct 8
(Fri.)

WHITE DWARFS AND NEUTRON STARS

10

12

Oct 12
(Tues.)

RELATIVITY

10

13

Oct 15
(Fri.)

BLACK HOLES

10

14

Oct 19
(Tues.)

REVIEW

1-3,8-10

15

Oct 22
(Fri.)

MIDTERM EXAM

1-3, 8-10

16

Oct 26
(Tues.)

THE MILKY WAY

11

17

Oct 29
(Fri.)

GALAXIES

11

18

Nov 2
(Tues.)

COSMIC DISTANCES

12

19

Nov 5
(Fri.)

EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE

12

20

Nov 9
(Tues.)

GALAXY EVOLUTION

12

21

Nov 12
(Fri.)

THE BIG BANG

13

22

Nov 16
(Tues.)

COSMIC INFLATION

13

23

Nov 19
(Fri.)

DARK MATTER

14

24

Nov 23
(Tues.)

LARGE-SCALE STRUCTURE

14

 

Nov 26
(Fri.)

No Lecture: Thanksgiving Recess

 

25

Nov 30
(Tues.)

DARK ENERGY

14

26

Dec 3
(Fri.)

LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE

15

27

Dec 7
(Tues.)

EVOLUTION

15

28

Dec 10
(Fri.)

END OF SEMESTER REVIEW

11-15

 

Dec 22
(Wed.)

Final Exam (8-11AM)

11-15

 

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6. Homework and Quizzes

Homework will be assigned for each lecture, in the form of reading the chapter ahead of the lecture and answering several homework questions. Homework will not be graded, but reading and homework quizzes will be given at the beginning of each lecture. If you do the reading and homework problems, you should find these quizzes easy. The quiz problems will be similar - but not identical - to the assigned homework problems, so memorizing the answer will not help you, but understanding the problems will!

Completing the homework assignments is essential if you wish to get a good grade in the course, for three reasons:

  1. Personal response participation, which includes the reading and homework quizzes, counts for one third of the final grade for the course.
  2. It is easier to get a high score on the reading and homework quizzes than on the exams.
  3. Doing the homework will prepare you for the exams: most of the exam questions will test the material covered in the homework.

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7. Examinations

There will be a midterm exam, held on October 22nd during the regular class period. The final exam covers the second half of the course and will be on Dec 22nd at 8 AM. Note: this is scheduled by the University. There will be make-up exams for those who have an excused absence for either the midterm exam or the final exam.

Only those people who are unable to attend the regular exams because of a class conflict, a medical/family emergency (which must be documented with a dean's note), or other serious and unforeseen event (which must be documented with a dean's note) will be allowed to take the make-up exam.

All exams will be multiple choice, computer graded, and closed book. Calculators are not required, though you may bring one to the exam if you wish. Cell phones are not allowed, even if they have a calculator application.

IMPORTANT: During the midterm and final exams, you will be asked to present the appropriate identification: i.e., a valid Rutgers student ID card. Students lacking the appropriate identification may not be allowed to take the exam!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THE MAKE-UP, YOU MUST  HAVE A VALID CONFLICT AND GET PERMISSION FROM ME PRIOR TO THE END OF CLASS ON DECEMBER 10TH!!!!

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8. Grades

The course grade will be determined by:

Midterm exam:

1/3

Final exam:

1/3

iClicker Personal Response Scores:

1/3

Note that the maximum score that can be obtained from exams alone is 67%. Therefore it is impossible to get a good overall grade without attending the lectures where the iClicker personal response systems will be used.

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9. Other Texts

There are many other good textbooks available for introductory courses on astronomy and cosmology. You may want to consult some of these other books from time to time. Try:

  1. The Universe Revealed, by Chris Impey and William K. Hartmann. Published by Brooks/Cole.
  2. Universe, by Roger A. Freedman and William J. Kaufmann. Published by W.H. Freeman and Company.
  3. The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millenium, by Jay M. Pasachoff and Alexei V. Filippenko. Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  4. Foundations of Astronomy: by Michael A. Seeds. Published by Brooks/Cole.
  5. Astronomy Today, by Chaisson and McMillan. Published by Prentice Hall.
  6. Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier, by John Fix. Published by McGraw-Hill.

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10. How to Succeed in this Course

  • Read the appropriate text sections before each class so that you get the maximum benefit from the lectures. Focus on concepts rather than memorization.
  • After reading the material, try several of the mathematical questions at the end of each chapter of the text and check your answers against the solutions in the back of the book.
  • Do all of the assigned homework problems and make sure you understand the answers.
  • Attend all lectures with your iClicker. Come prepared with questions on the material.
  • If you have any questions/concerns about the material or content, please talk to me during office hours or immediately before or after the lectures.
  •  

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11. Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities: Rutgers provides a variety of services to support a successful learning experience. Please click here for further information.

 

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