Astronomy 10

Comet McNaught

Time: Monday and Wednesday 1:30-2:45

Location: Science 258


Check this website for details of when to see the Space Station and Space Shuttle from San Jose!

The textbook that is used in this course is The Solar System, Sixth Edition, by Michael A. Seeds. The publisher is Thomson Brooks/Cole. I put a copy on reserve at the library. The book is available at the bookstore, and also online. Scroll all the way to the bottom of that link to find your book.

We will be using an online homework system, WebAssign, associated with our textbook. There was some confusion between the book publisher and the company that runs the online homework. The homework people were very nice and have solved the problem by giving all you guys FREE access to WebAssign this semester! Whooo hoo!

Click on the link and enter the 'class key': sjsu 5543 2098

If you already did sign up and pay for webassign, that is OK, save your receipts and send me an email. I will forward your info to the appropriate authorities to get you reimbursed.

For those of you who bought the book through the bookstore or online, you are still able to use the 'Cengage' system that was erroneously included in those books. It has astronomy tutorials and some other cool study aids. I suppose you can also return your book or cancel your book order. Your call!

The cheapest way to get through the course, with your own copy of the book, is to rent your book (about $20 from what I hear). Then sign up with WebAssign.

The origin, evolution and future of the solar system are extremely well understood in light of the basic laws of physics.

We will start with understanding what you see when you look up at the night (and daytime) sky. Then we will cover the basic laws of physics that govern the interaction of matter and energy. With an understanding of these laws, we acn begin to contemplate the origin and evolution of the solar system.

This course satisfies area B1 of your Core GE studies. Core GE Physical Science courses focus on the laws of thermodynamics, the structure of matter, the interaction of matter and energy, the behavior of physical systems through time, systems of classification, and physical processes of the natural environment. We will do a lot of in-class activities, including discussion groups, worksheets, etc.

In a nutshell, this course is a generally non-mathematical examination of principles, facts and logic of astronomy, emphasizing the arrangement, origin and evolution of the solar system.


Over Labor Day Weekend, the International Space Station, docked with the Space Shuttle Discovery, will be visible from our location at reasonable times. Below is a schedule that I generated from Heavens Above, a website that gives the dates, times, brightness, and position of the more visible satellites. Remeber that the times are in 24-hour time, and also you have to type in your location when you go onto the web site for the first time.

This is not a formal assignment, but if you want to do a short-write-up of your observation (with as much detail as you can give), I will put it in the 'extra credit' folder!


Course Documents

I have uploaded all of the power point files. Please use these to remind yourselves of the topics that we covered, because we did not do everything in each chapter. The book will contain any details that you may have missed.

The final exam is on Monday, December 14th. The majority of the exam will be on stuff we've covered since the second midterm (i.e. Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc). But keep in mind that this course builds upon previous material -- you still need to know about infrared radiation, plate ectonics, etc. Review that stuff or come to office hours if you're having trouble!



Online Resources

This is the video we saw in class on Monday, October 5: The baloney detection kit, by Michael Shermer.

Here are some fun websites that will enhance your coursework in astronomy 10: Interesting things seen in the sky recently

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Optics Picture of the Day

Earth Science Picture of the Day

San Jose Astronomical Association