AST 301: Our Violent Universe       Class Log

Class Schedule: T Th 2pm-4:50pm Professor: Steve Liebling
Classroom: Pell Hall 302 Office:  Pell Hall 210
Text: J.Bennett, M.Donahue, N.Schneider, & M.Voit. The Cosmic Perspective, Fourth Edition
and a personal access kit (required) for the Mastering Astronomy website (ClassID: Liebling1).
Office Hours: M W 12:30-1:30pm
Web: Phone: 299-3439

Course Goals: Grading Policy: Grades will basically follow the traditional divisions at 90% (A or A-), 80% (B+, B, B-), 70% (C+, C, C-), and 60% (D), with minimal adjustments based on how the class proceeds.
Labwork 20%
Project (details) 15%
Quizzes & Homework 15%
Classroom Participation 5%
Test 1 15%  
Test 2 15%
Final Exam 15%
Extra Credit: There will be no extra credit or extra credit papers, Do the homework, labs, and take the quizzes and tests. As the semester progresses, there is less and less to be done to increase your grade.

Class Participation: Everyone starts with 90%. Subtractions are made for being disruptive (excessive talking, ringing phones, being late, etc) as well as excessive absences. Additions are made for contributing (questions or answers) to class discussions.

Homework: Homework will be assigned in class, usually every week or two. Often the homework will consist of assignments from the publisher's class web page (

Quizzes: The online, "basic" quizzes for each chapter that we cover ( is due by the date of the test which covers that chapter. You will be responsible for taking these quizzes online (and outside of class) before the deadline.

Labs: This class has an integral lab component which counts toward your grade for the course. We will have various types of labs: computer labs, DIY labs at home, observations, and in class labs.

Tests: The class will have two tests on the dates indicated on the syllabus. The tests will be given during classtime.

Final: The final will be held at the time dictated by the Registrar during Exam Week.

Academic Honesty: You are encouraged to work on homework problems with others. However, you must work alone on quizzes and tests. On quizzes and exams you may use only a calculator and writing utensils (no cell phones, PDAs, etc). All the work you turn in must be your own.

Other Resources: Tutors, library books, office hours, supplemental texts, and study groups.

Syllabus: Below is the anticipated schedule of what we'll cover. The dates of the tests are fixed; on principle I do not change them so that students can plan for them. Near the end of the semester, I generally have flexibility in what we cover. If you have a preference for what we might cover, please feel free to provide feedback.

Week 1 Sept. 5 Introduction   Course Overview; HW 1  
Sept. 7 Our Place in the Universe   Ch. 1    
Week 2 Sept. 12   Ch. 1    
Sept. 14 Discovering the Universe for Yourself   Ch. 2   
Week 3 Sept. 19   Ch. 2    
Sept. 21 The Science of Astronomy   Ch. 3    
Week 4 Sept. 26 Celestial Timekeeping and Navigation   Ch. S1    
Sept. 28   Test 1  
Week 5 Oct. 3 Making Sense of the Universe  Ch. 4   
Oct. 5   Ch. 4    
Week 6 Oct. 10 Light and Matter  Ch. 5   Project Part 1 Due  
Oct. 12   Ch. 5    
Week 7 Oct. 17 Telescopes   Ch. 6    
Oct. 20 Space & Time   Ch. S2    
Week 8 Oct. 24   Ch. S2    
Oct. 26   Test 2  
Week 9 Oct. 31 Our Planetary System   Ch. 7    
Nov. 2   Ch. 7    
Week 10 Nov. 7   Election Day--NO CLASSES    
Nov. 9 Formation of the Solar System   Ch. 8    
Week 11 Nov. 14   Ch. 8    
Nov. 16 Planetary Geology   Ch. 9  Project Part 2 Due  
Week 12 Nov. 21 Jovian Planet Systems   Ch. 11   
Nov. 23   Thanksgiving--NO CLASSES    
Week 13 Nov. 28 Building Blocks of the Universe   Ch. S4    
Nov. 30 Our Star   Ch. 14   Alissa's Extra Credit Group; Katherine's Extra Credit  
Week 14 Dec. 5   Review   Ryan's Extra Credit  
Dec. 7   Project Presentations    
Week 15 Dec. 12-18   Final Exam Period   Scheduled: Tuesday, 12/12 1:50-4:30pm  

Last updated August 30, 2006.
Steve Liebling (home)