ASTRONOMY 103 Fall 2006

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    All the things we realize we forgot to tell you in class, updates, etc. will be posted HERE.
    Friday afternoon December 22
    Grades for the 11:00 lecture class have been submitted, and should be posted overnight.
    Grades for the 9:55 lecture class have been delayed by flu -- hopefully over the weekend.

    1 meter = 1000mm (millimeters) or 1,000,000 microns or 1,000,000,000nm (nanometers, as in 'nanotech')

    Final exam review sessions:

    • Sunday, December 17, 2-3 PM (led by Alex)
      3425 Sterling (our regular classroom)
    • Monday, December 18, 6-7 PM (led by Katie)
      2241 Chamberlin (NOT our regular classroom)


  • Course Description (pdf file)
  • Syllabus (pdf file)


    Course Professor: Linda Sparke (sparke at astro-wisc-edu)
    6217 Chamberlin (over the bridge and up the stairs)
    MW 1:20pm to 2:30pm
    Lecture 1 (9:55) TA: Katie Kern: (katie at astro-wisc-edu)
    4559 Sterling (past the elevator, turn right and follow the back hallway)
    Mon 11:00 -- 12:00 noon
    Tue 2:30 -- 4:00pm
    Wed 1:30 -- 3:00pm
    thuRs 11:00 -- 12:00noon
    Fri 1:00 - 2:00 pm
    Lecture 3 (11:00) TA: Alex Hill: (hill at astro-wisc-edu)
    4534B Sterling (past the elevator, to the end of the hall and through the kitchen)
    thuRs 8:30 -- 9:20am
    Fri 12:30 -- 1:30 pm
    Exam week office hours:
    Sunday, Dec. 17: 3 -- 4 pm
    Monday, Dec. 18: 10am -- 12noon
    Tuesday, Dec. 19: 9 -- 10am


    MIDTERM EXAMS: If you miss an exam because you are sick, you must phone the department office (262-3071) or Prof. Sparke (262-0309) ON OR BEFORE the day of the test, and explain why.

    The 6-week exam will be on Monday October 9 in class. It will be multiple-choice, with 50 questions of equal weight. No points deducted for wrong answers.

  • Corrected Review sheet for 6 week exam, with sample questions
    Approximate grading curve for the 6 week test: this will be your 6-week grade.
    A: 39 or over
    AB: 38
    B: 34 to 37
    BC: 33
    C: 28 to 32
    D: 23 to 27
    F: 22 or below

    The 12-week exam will be on Monday November 20 in class. It will have the same format as the 6-week exam, covering material since that test.

  • Review sheet for 12 week exam, with sample questions
    Approximate grading curve for the 12 week test:
    A: 41 or over
    AB: 40
    B: 36 to 39
    BC: 35
    C: 34 to 30
    D: 20 to 29
    F: 19 or below

    FINAL EXAM: on the whole course, but with more questions on the topics we didn't cover before the 12-week test.
    This will be in 2103 Chamberlin, one of the large Physics rooms; NOT in our normal classroom
    You may bring in anything written on ONE sheet of coho-salmon paper (handed out in lecture or from your TA) as a "cheat sheet". NO other kinds of paper!!

    Multiple-choice, with about 100 questions in the 2-hour exam period.
    Lecture 1: Thursday 21 December 2:45pm to 4:45pm
    Lecture 3: Tuesday 19 December 12:25pm to 2:25pm

  • Review sheet for the final exam, with sample questions (and some extras on galaxies)

    HONORS students:

    For honors credit, you need to do a paper or an observing project. We'll get together at 10:50 between the two classes on Wednesday September 13 to figure that out.

    HOMEWORK: pdf files here

    But you need to turn in your homework on paper, because we have to grade it on paper!
  • Homework 1: due W 13 Sept in class Here, 'fraction' = 'fraction or percentage'
    In Table B.2 for Jupiter: the 'semi-major axis' is (almost) the radius of the orbit around the Sun; how many times larger is Jupiter's orbit than the Earth's?
  • Homework 2 = Lab 1: due W 20 Sept in class It was cloudy on Tuesday night (19th) so you have an extension till 1pm Thursday (21st).
    Sky map to help you find Cygnus for Homework 2
  • Homework 3: due W 27 Sept in class
  • Homework 4 = Lab 2: due W 11 October in class
  • Homework 5: due W 18 October in class
  • Homework 6: due W 1 November in class
  • Homework 7: due W 8 November in class
    Makeup observing lab is at the top of the page: extension till November 20 because of cloudy weather
  • Homework 8: due W 15 November in class
  • Homework 9: due W 29 November in class
    BUG: the answer to 3c is 260Myr, not 280Myr
  • Homework 10: due W 6 December in class

    Equation sheet prepared by Katie: Download PDF


    MATH REVIEW: Friday September 8, 1:20pm to 3:15pm in 3425 Sterling. Drop in if you have any misgivings about the math from the first class.
  • Class 1: Wed Sept 6 Powers of 10 in Appendix A, angles p4-6 and p18
  • Class 2: Mon Sept 11 Motion of stars and Sun Text Ch1.1 and 1.2
  • Class 3: Wed Sept 13 Moon phases, eclipses Read Ch1.3 and 1.5
  • Class 4: Mon Sept 18 Motion of the planets Read Ch1.4, 2.3 and 3.1, 3.2
  • Class 5: Wed Sept 20 Kepler's laws Read to the end of Ch3
  • Class 6: Mon Sept 27 How things move: Galileo and Newton Read Ch4.1 to 4.3
  • Class 7: Wed Sept 29 Newton's gravity Finish reading Ch4
  • Class 8: Mon Oct 2 Light and atoms: Read Ch5.3 and 5.1 (yes, in that order)
  • Class 9: Wed Oct 4 Spectra, Kirchhoff laws: Finish up Chapter 5
    6-week exam: Monday October 9
  • Class 10: Wed Oct 11 Telescopes: Read 6.2 to the end of Chapter 6
  • Class 11: Mon Oct 16 The Sun: gases, luminosity/brightness relation and blackbody radiation. Read 12.1 to 12.3, including boxes 12.1 and 12.2
  • Class 12: Wed Oct 18 The Sun: spectral lines, energy generation and outflow. Read to end of Ch12.
  • Class 13: Mon Oct 23 Other stars: measuring luminosity, distances, colors. Read 13.1 to 13.3. NOT magnitude system
    (Lecture summary notes -- PDF)
  • Class 14: Wed Oct 25 Other stars: classifying the spectra, H-R diagram. Read 13.4 and 13.5. (Lecture summary notes -- text)
  • Class 15: Mon Oct 30 Interpreting the H-R diagram: masses of stars 13.6; Doppler shift, Box 10.1
  • Class 16: Wed Nov 1 Gas between the stars: Ch14.1 to 14.3
  • Class 17: Mon Nov 6 Starbirth: finish Ch14, but not 14.5 or much of 14.4. The Sun's life: up to first page of Ch15.5. NOT details of CNO cycle.
  • Class 18: Wed Nov 8 Lives of stars: Ch15.5 to 15.8; Table 13.2; Making the heavy elements Ch 15.8 and 16.5
  • Class 19: Mon Nov 13 Death of stars: Ch15.7 and 15.8; Ch16 to 16.6 NOT interior of neutron star Fig 16.3. Neat stuff we had to leave out: synchrotron radiation Box 16.1; binary pulsars; very fast pulsars; planets around pulsars; falling into a black hole.
  • Class 20: Wed Nov 15 Neutron stars and black holes: finish Ch16; part of Ch7 (Ch7 material not on the 12-week test)
    12-week exam: Monday November 20 Review sheet with sample questions
    Yes we do have class on Wednesday November 22. But no discussion sections this week.
  • Class 21: Wed Nov 22 Black holes in the centers of galaxies: parts of Ch19. Click here for a summary if you miss class
  • Class 22: Mon Nov 27 Milky Way galaxy: Ch17.1, 17.2, 17.7 and 17.8
  • Class 23: Wed Nov 29 Milky Way galaxy: rotation, dark matter and spiral structure Ch17.3-17.6; other types of galaxies 18.1, 18.2
  • Class 24: Mon Dec 4 distances to galaxies, Hubble's "law"; our homogeneous and isotropic Universe; future of the expansion: up to end of Ch18.4, and 20.1-20.2
  • Class 25: Wed Dec 6 galaxy properties, groups and clusters of galaxies; galaxy mergers; superclusters, webs and voids Ch18.2; Ch18.5 to 18.8
  • Class 26: Mon Dec 11 Cosmology: the hot Big Bang, making helium Ch20.2-20.4
  • Class 27: Wed Dec 15 Cosmology: curvature of space Ch7.3-7.4; fate of cosmic expansion Ch20.5 and 20.6; dark energy (too new for the book). We'll skip 20.7 and 20.8.

  • Astronomy Library opening hours


    We don't require you to look through a telescope in this course, but it's a good thing to do. When the sky is CLEAR (!), the telescope is open on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, 9-11pm before daylight time ends, and 7-9pm after that.
    WARNING: there are no restrooms in the telescope building!

    If you'd like to know what's up in the sky, download `Eyes on the Skies' from the sidebar on the Space Place website.

    Some astronomy LINKS:

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • Latest news from the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Astronomical calendar for 2006

  • Latest images of the Sun, in various wavelengths
  • Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia -- planets around other stars
  • Galaxies in light of different wavelengths