*Introduction to Astronomy

Introduction to Astronomy
NS 1123
Course Description
    An introduction to the models and nomenclature of modern astronomy with emphasis on conceptual as well as mathematical comprehension. The history of astronomy and its impact on thought and culture, the description of the instruments and techniques of modern astronomy, and the interpretation of information gained by such is emphasized. The history and composition of our solar system, the evolution of stars and other stellar objects, the formation and structure of galaxies, and the probable origin of the universe itself are described through theories of 
modern physics and cosmology. 

Course Materials
  • Introduction to Astronomy Workbook - You will purchase this from the bookstore - you will not find this anywhere else). Sections of the Workbook at posted at myCourses but you really need the physical workbook from the bookstore. There are literally hundreds of pages and the courses goes best when you fill in notes, complete activities, etc. straight out of the physical workbook. The workbook should cost around $25.
  • Astronomy Goodie Bag - You will purchase this from the bookstore. The bag contains lots of things (hemisphere, Earth ball, etc.) to help you complete the activities for this course. The goodie bag will run you about $18 or less.
  • Stellarium Workbook - You can download the workbook from the myCourses site but it is also included for free at the back of the Astronomy Workbook.

Intended Outcomes of Astronomy
By the end of this course, you will have met these outcomes from the list of SNU General Education Learning Outcomes that state, “SNU students...”
  •  …can solve problems creatively by drawing upon appropriate principles, methods, and examples from a variety of disciplines, predict possible consequences (positive and negative) of a range of potential actions, evaluate possible solutions in an ethical framework, decide upon the best solution, and successfully plan and execute the chosen solution. (Problem Solving)
  • …can evaluate developments in science, technology and health on the basis of elementary principles, good scientific practices, and the proper interpretation of mathematical models and statistics. (Science and Technology)
Online Expectations
Intro to Astronomy online should be a great experience for you as long as you follow some important guidelines and expectations.
  • Follow the schedule closely. There is a lot of material in this course in six weeks. Each week of the online course covers about two and a half weeks of the regular semester. That means you should invest 15-20 hours of work a week in the online course. If you get a week or two behind, it will be very difficult to catch up.
  • Communicate with your professor. There will be lots of ways to do this through forums, online tutoring sessions, etc. You are free to try to figure things out for yourself but you should feel free to ask your professor for help just as easily as walking into his office.
  • Do your work. You get out what you put into this course. There are no shortcuts. You can’t figure out astronomy on the fly. You have to engage the material, go outside and apply it. Don’t rely on superficial understanding and resort to recall which won’t go far on the test. You are expected to process the material and be able to apply the concepts to new and novel situations. The only way you can manage that is to force yourself to think deeply as you work through the material.
  • Display all due diligence in completing online tests at Remote Proctor, a third-party website. This method replaces the traditional tests you would normally take in the classroom. Remote Proctor is relatively easy to use but requires you to prep your computer in advance and complete the tests at a scheduled time. Also, make sure you have all the necessary equipment in place, including a webcam.

Note: When the class is offered during the regular semester, sometimes your professor will offer a proctored session on campus - once per test. Please check your emails regularly to know when those are scheduled.

Overview of Course Assignments

Course tests and quizzes (40% of the course grade, proctored tests)

Test 1 - Constellations and Coordinate Systems; Planetary and Solar Motion, History and Physics of Astronomy; the Earth; the Moon

Test 2 - Asteroids and Comets; The Planets; The Sun; The Stars; Lives and Deaths of Stars; Galaxies and Beyond

Light Pollution Assignment and Paper (15%)
This lab gives you opportunity to go outside and observe the darkness of the sky from three different locations.

Stellarium Workbook (15%)
This workbook uses the Stellarium planetarium software, available for free from the web. Stellarium is a great venue to reinforce many of the concepts you learn in class. It makes astronomy "come alive" on your computer. This is a tool you will literally use for the rest of your life, even if only occasionally.

Participation in forums and online tutorials (15%)
You will be given a summative grade at the end of the course that reflects your online participation in forums in communicating with your peers. Your professor will provide assignment prompts with which to respond.

Course Assignments and Worksheets (15%)
You may have up to 16 assignments throughout the course. Most are worth 10 points but a few are worth 5 points. You can do as many as you want to earn a maximum of 100 points. This is a great way to improve your course grade. The list below is somewhat tentative - a few assignments may change according to course resources, etc.

1. Construct a Zodiac band and take the online quiz
2. Build an Altazimuth globe, upload a picture and take the online quiz
3. Build a celestial globe, upload a picture and take the online quiz
4. Complete the Equatorial Map and take the online quiz
5. Build a star clock and take the online quiz
6. Complete the Motion of the Sun activity and take the online quiz
7. Watch the planetary position tutorial and take the online quiz
8. Watch Interior Motive video and complete the worksheet
9. Construct the moon phases flip-book
10. Complete the moon orrery/horizon sketch worksheet
11. Complete Moons of Jupiter worksheet
12. Watch the Infrared Video and complete the worksheet
13. Complete the Atomic Spectra Worksheet
14. Watch the Star Salesman video and complete worksheet
15. Complete the Solar Scramble
16. Complete the Life and Death of Stars activity