Astronomy 10

Summer 1999

Eric Gawiser

  • lecture: 343 LeConte MTWTh 10:05AM-noon
  • discussion: M 1-3:30PM room TBA (basement of LeConte)
  • office hours: MTWTh 12-1PM in 753 Campbell
  • office: 753 Campbell
  • phone (510) 642-5902
  • fax (510) 642-3411
  • e-mail:

    Course description:

    This is an introductory course in Astronomy, designed for non-majors, which fulfills U. C. Berkeley's physical sciences breadth requirement. The summer session is 6 weeks of classes, 8 hours of lecture and 2 hours of discussion section per week, with 3 exams. Class will also meet for a few evenings during the term to use the telescope.

    Grading will be 50% exams, 25% homework, and 25% participation. Participation includes: attendance at lecture, discussion section, and telescope observations, joining in class discussions, and a required class presentation on a current research result. The exams are scheduled for July 20, August 3, and August 12. The first two exams are 1 hour each, and the final will be 1.5 hours and count double.

    The textbook is Horizons: Exploring the Universe (with Infotrac) by Michael Seeds. It should be available at the Bear Student Store and Ned's.

    Course outline:

  • Exploring the Sky: the size of the universe, the origins of astronomy, and modern astronomical tools
  • The Stars: our Sun, properties of stars, stellar death, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes
  • Galaxies: the Milky Way, types of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and galaxy formation
  • Cosmology: the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, and the origin of clusters and superclusters of galaxies
  • The Solar System: origin of the solar system, the Earthlike planets, the gas giants, meteoroids, asteroids, and comets
  • Life in the Universe: is there life on other worlds?

    Homework assignments are due in my mailbox in 601 Campbell by 1PM of the day shown below. You are expected to read the corresponding chapteras well. Late homework gets half credit, no credit once solutions have been handed out.
    RQ = Review Questions, DQ = Discussion Questions, and P = Problems
    7/7 Ch 1 RQ 4,10 and P 2,5 AND Ch 2 RQ 4,11,15 and P 1,3,5
    7/8 Ch 3 RQ 2,5,8,10 and P 3,4
    7/12 Ch 4 RQ 1,2,7,9,10,12,14 and P 1,3,5
    7/13 Ch 5 RQ 1,3,13 and P 1, 5
    7/14 Ch 6 RQ 1,4,6,8,9,14,15 and P 1,3,5
    7/15 Ch 7 RQ 2,9,14 and P 1,5
    7/19 Ch 8 RQ 1,7,14 and P 1,3
    7/22 Ch 9 RQ 2,3,4,7,9,11,13,15 and P 3,5
    7/26 Ch 10 RQ 1,6,8,12 and P 5 AND Ch 11 RQ 2,7,12 and DQ 1 and P 1
    7/27 Ch 12 RQ 1,6,7,9,14 and P 4
    7/29 Ch 13 RQ 1,5,6,8 and P 3
    8/2 Ch 14 RQ 5,9,10,15 and P 5
    8/3 Ch 15 RQ 3,5,7 and P 3 (remember to redshift by z=1000)and P 4 (answer in g/cm^3)
    8/9 Ch 16 RQ 2,4,7,12 and P 3 AND Ch 17 RQ 1,5,9,15 and P 2
    8/10 Ch 18 RQ 1,5,6,11,14 AND Ch 19 RQ 5,6,13 and DQ 3 and P 2
    8/11 Ch 20 RQ 2,5,12,15 and P 5

    Here is a list of concepts that you were invited to study for the 2nd exam.
    Here is a list of concepts that you were invited to study for the 1st exam.


    Monday 8/9. Meet at 9:30 PM at the front of Campbell Hall.


    ON THURSDAY AUGUST 12 at 10AM in 343 Le Conte. Here is a list of concepts from Chapters 16-20 that you should study for the final exam. You will have 90 minutes to finish the exam, which counts for 25% of your grade. Half of the final will be a detailed examination of the material of Chapters 16-20 of the textbook, and the other half will be a general overview of the course as a whole that does not require much studying if you've been paying attention throughout. I have announced the REVIEW QUESTION for the final already; you should be prepared to write a 1-page essay on the following topic:

    Please describe the "distance ladder" used by astronomers to determine the distances to nearby stars, distant parts of our Galaxy, nearby galaxies, and distant galaxies. Define "standard candle" and mention a few in your answer. You do not need to include every technique that is used but should cover all major rungs in the ladder.

    Interesting Astronomy Links:
  • Wadsworth STUDY AIDES
  • INFOTRAC: Popular Science Articles
  • Solar System Stuff
  • SETI Home Page
  • Hands On Universe
  • NASA's Hubble Constant site
  • Astronomy Now magazine
  • Sky & Telescope magazine

    Check out my home page.