ASTR 1020 – Introductory Astronomy 2

Spring 2008

Lectures in Duane G1B20

MWF 10:00 am – 10:50 pm



Professor Jack Burns, Ph.D.

Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences

Office: Duane D-311

Office Hours:  MWF 11:00 am – Noon or by appointment

Office Phone: 303-735-0963


Web page:


Graduate Teaching Assistant: Jason Henning

Office: Duane E-122

Office Hours: T 4–5 pm and Th 3-4 pm or by appointment

Office Phone: 303-492-5010



Learning Assistants:

·       Elin Deeb (  – M 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm recitations.

·       Robert Snider ( – M 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm recitations.

·       Tahlia De Maio ( – T 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm recitations.

·       Andrew Najarian ( – T 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm recitations.



Required Texts: The Cosmic Perspective (4th Edition), 2007 by J. Bennett, M. Donahue, N. Schneider, M. Voit; and Astronomy Media Workbook (5th Edition), 2007 by Michael C. LoPresto.                          


Course Description: Introduces principles of modern astronomy for nonscience majors, summarizing our present knowledge about the Sun, stars, birth and death of stars, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, and the organization and origins of the universe. Offers nighttime observation sessions at Sommers-Bausch Observatory and class sessions at the Fiske Planetarium.  Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: natural science.


Course Prerequisites: ASTR 1010 or Astr 1110.


Course Objectives:

·       Develop a sense of awe and appreciation for modern astronomy, including such topics as the origin of the universe, the formation and evolution of the Sun and other stars, the nature of space and time, and the search for extrasolar planets in the Galaxy.

·       Develop an understanding of the scientific method and practice in its use. The following skills are important in this class and very useful outside of class:

o      Critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.

o      Emphasis on predicting/testing nature of science.

o      Group communication skills.

·       Absorb a moderately comprehensive introduction to modern astronomy and science so you can put into context discoveries that you might hear or read about later.

·       Develop experience with quantitative reasoning and estimation.

·       Gain practice in the evaluation of real data so you can understand measurement error and how to decide if data is trustworthy or not.


Strategies for Reaching the Objectives:

·       Come to class!!  If you enroll in this course, plan on attending every meeting of the class.  If you miss a class, you will lose points.

·       Read the assigned text chapters or web pages before class.

·       Take the homework assignments in Mastering Astronomy and class discussion seriously – they represent an important part of your grade.  Also, exam questions will be closely related to the homework, reading assignments, class clicker questions, and class discussion.

·       Discuss the class and homework with other students, and then turn in your own work.  Testing your ideas against others is an important way to learn.

·       Take advantage of office hours and recitation sessions to ask questions.


Class Web page:


E-mail:  I will be sharing information regularly with you via your CU E-mail account.  It is important that you check your E-mail several times each week to receive these important communications.  This is the official CU communication method between the instructor and the class.


Homework Using MasteringAstronomy

There will be regular assignments using the on-line tutorial and exercises program MasteringAstronomy.  You will need both an access code (free with purchase of new textbook or purchased on-line) and a class ID that I will E-mail to you.  Detailed information on registering for MasteringAstronomy can be found by clicking here.  The website for MasteringAstronomy is (select our textbook: The Cosmic Perspective, 4e).


Please use your CULearn user ID (in LOWER case letters) in registering for MasteringAstronomy..  This is the ~8 character name with which you log in to CULearn, CUConnect, library computers, etc. 


Homeworks will consist of a combination of tutorials, multiple-choice questions, and a few quantitative questions.  Homeworks must be completed by the date indicated at 10:00 am (class time) to receive full credit; however, even after the assignment is due, you can still complete the homework any time and receive up to 50% credit.


Clickers and Clicker Questions

Each student will have a wireless student response system (“iclicker”).  You must bring your clicker to each class!  About 2-3 times each class, you will be asked questions designed to get you to think carefully about some of the concepts that we are discussing in class.  Often, you will be asked to talk with your neighbors before answering, so you can help each other to figure out the correct answer.  Use of the clickers:

·       Improves your grades (everyone’s grades!).  When you discuss and debate with others, your knowledge improves.

·       Gives YOU immediate feedback on what you do and do not understand.

·       Tells your instructor what the class doesn’t understand.

·       Greatly improves class participation.


We will sometimes start class with a clicker question based on the assigned reading.  So, do your reading before class!


You are entitled to 5 “free clicker” days where your lowest clicker scores will be dropped.  If you are sick for a day, have a family emergency, or your clicker stops working, this should cover you.  You can miss up to 5 classes without it hurting you.


You will need to register your clicker to get credit for your answers.  Instructions on registration of your iClicker are simple.  Just go to CUConnect, to your courses tab, and enter your clicker ID where it says to register clickers.  Please do this as soon as you purchase your clicker.


Buy extra batteries for your clicker now!


Recitation Sections

Besides the three 50-minute lectures, there is one 50-minute recitation session that you must attend each week.  The recitation is taught by one of our Learning Assistants (LAs) and will have only about 20 students per section.   During the recitation, there will be a clicker quiz based upon material from the previous week, review of important concepts, and a Laboratory Exercise.  You are encouraged to bring your questions and be prepared to discuss topics with the class and the LA.  If you have a laptop, please bring it to Recitation.


Class PowerPoint Lecture Notes

Class PowerPoint presentations will be placed on the Astr 1020 website AFTER each lecture.  The format will be PDF with 6 slides per page and in black & white so you can easily print out the notes.  A link to each PowerPoint presentation can be found in the last segment of this syllabus under the date of the lecture.


Exams:  There will be 3 in-class mid-term exams and a Final exam during the semester.  These exams will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.  The lowest of the three mid-term exams will be dropped.  As a result, no make-up exams will be given.


The Exams will be closed book.  However, students may bring one sheet of paper (front and back) with notes for each exam.


Individual Attendance:

Daily class attendance is expected and is an individual responsibility.  Graded clicker questions will be given each class and will count for 5% of your grade.  The 5 lowest score clicker question days will be dropped in calculating this part of your grade.


Fiske Planetarium

We will conduct five classes this semester at the Fiske Planetarium (near Regent Drive and Kittridge Loop Drive).  In addition, the Planetarium has FREE (show your student ID) shows every Thursday night.   You can gain extra credit points by attending these shows!  Schedule of Planetarium shows is at


Sommers Bausch Observatory

There will be several optional, extra credit, opportunities to observe the sky at the campus observatory during the semester.  These sessions will be designed specifically for our Astr 1020 class.  In addition, the Sommers Bausch Observatory is open every Friday night at 8:00 pm for public viewings.  Details can be found at


Religious Observances:

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, please contact me in advance of the religious observation to make arrangements.  See details at


Sexual Harassment:

The University of Colorado Policy on Sexual Harassment applies to all students, staff and faculty.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention.  It can involve intimidation, threats, coercion, or promises, or create an environment that is hostile or offensive.  Harassment may occur between members of the same or opposite gender and between any combination of members in the campus community: students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  Harassment can occur anywhere on campus, including the classroom, the workplace, or a residence hall.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been sexually harassed should contact the Office of Sexual Harassment (OSH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the OSH and the campus resources available to assist individuals who believe they have been sexually harassed can be obtained at:


Classroom Behavior:

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment.  Students who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline.  Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat all students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which they and their students express opinions.  Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender variance, and nationalities.  See policies at and at


Academic Integrity:

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution.  Violations of this policy may include: cheating, doing “clicker” questions for an absent friend, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information about the Honor Code can be found at and at


When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, or collaboration, consult with me.


Disability Services:

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities.  Contact:  303-492-8671, Willard 322, and  Disability Services’ letters for students with disabilities indicate legally mandated reasonable accommodations.  The syllabus statements and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found at


Grading : Your final grade will be based upon

·       5% on “clicker questions” asked in class.  Clicker questions will be graded 1 point for any answer and 2 points for the correct answer.  Often, you will be encouraged to discuss the answer with your neighbors in class before you give it.  The main purpose of these questions is to help you understand what you know and don’t know, and learn more.  And, at least sometimes, have fun!  It has been shown that the use of clickers raises grades.  Your 5 lowest Clicker score days will be dropped.

·       20% for your recitation section grade (clicker quizzes and lab exercises).

·       20% on homework consisting of online tutorials in MasteringAstronomy.

·       30% for mid-term exams (total of 3 midterms will be given but the lowest will be dropped).

·       25% on the comprehensive final exam.

·       Up to 3% extra credit will be available for short class presentations on “Astronomy in the News”, attendance at observatory or planetarium events, and attendance of special campus lectures.



Planned Class Schedule (updated weekly!):


Week 1 – January 14-18, Our Place in the Universe


·       January 14 (click here to get class notes):  Welcome to Astr 1020; Course Overview


·       January 16: The Scale and History of the Universe

o      Reading (complete before this class!):   p. XXVIII to XXIX, “How to Succeed in Your Astronomy Course”; Chapter 1, sections 1.1 - 1.2; review summary of key concepts at end of Chapter for sections 1.1 and 1.2.


·       January 18: A Brief Tour & History of the Universe

o      Reading (complete before class): Chapter 1


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 1:

o      Register and log-in to Mastering Astronomy (see above for details).

o      Intro to Mastering Astronomy (complete by January 21)




                    Week 2 – January 21-25, Gravity, Matter, and Light


·       January 21: No class, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday


·       January 23: A Review of Energy & Gravity

o      Reading (complete before this class):  Chapter 4, sections 4.1 - 4.4; summary of key concepts.


·       January 25: A Review of Light

o      Reading (complete before this class):  Chapter 5, sections 5.1, 5.2; summary of key concepts.


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 2:

o      Scales of the Universe (complete by January 28)



Week 3 – January 28 – February 1, Light and Our Sun


·       January 28: Review of Light and Matter

o      Reading:  Chapter 5, sections 5.3 – 5.5.


·       January 30: A Close Look at the Sun

o      Reading: Chapter 14, section 14.1.


·       February 1: How the Sun Generates Its Energy

o      Reading:  Chapter 14, section 14.2.


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 3:

o      Light and Spectroscopy (due February 4th)



Week 4 – February 4-8, The Sun and Other Stars


·       February 4: Solar Weather & Solar Hazards (guest lecture by Prof. Dan Baker, LASP)

o      Reading: Chapter 14, section 14.3.


·       February 6: Stellar Brightness and Luminosity

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.1.


·       February 8: Distances to Stars – Parallax

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.1.


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 4:

o      The Sun (due February 11th )



Week 5 – February 11-15, City of Stars & Stellar Masses


·       February 11: Stellar Temperatures

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.1


·       February 13: Binary Stars & Stellar Masses

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.1


·       February 15: Meet at Fiske Planetarium for “City of Stars


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 5:

o      The Properties of Stars (due February 18)



Week 6 – February 18-22, HR Diagram


·       February 18: The Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) Diagram

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.2


·       February 20, Exam 1.  Answer key here!


·       February 22: Stellar Evolution & the HR Diagram

o      Reading: Chapter 15, section 15.3


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 6:

o      The HR Diagram (due February 25)



Week 7 – February 25-29, The Birth and Lives of Stars


·       February 25: Star Birth

o      Reading: Chapter 16


·       February 27: Stellar Evolution

o      Reading: Chapter 17, sections 17.1 – 17.2


·       February 29: Supernovae

o      Reading: Chapter 17, sections 17.3 – 17.4


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 7:

o      Stellar Evolution (due March 3)



Week 8 – March 3-7, Star Death


·       March 3: White Dwarfs

o      Reading: Chapter 18, section 18.1


·       March 5: Neutron Stars and Pulsars

o      Reading: Chapter 18, section 18.2


·       March 7:  Meet at Fiske Planetarium for show on “Dr. Einstein’s Universe”

o      Reading: Chapter 18, section 18.3


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 8:

o      Star Death (due March 10)



Week 9 – March 10-14, The Milky Way Galaxy


·       March 10: Anatomy of the Milky Way

o      Reading: Chapter 19, sections 19.1-19.2


·       March 12: Stellar Motions and Dark Matter in the Milky Way

o      Reading: Chapter 19, sections 19.1-19.2


·       March 14:  Exam 2   Answer key here!


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 9:

o      The Milky Way (due Wednesday, March 19)



Week 10 – March 17-21, Galaxies


·       March 17: Spiral Arms & the Galactic Center

o      Reading: Chapter 19, section 19.4; Chapter 20, section 20.1.


·       March 19: Galaxy Types, Galaxy Clusters, & Measuring Galaxy Distances

o      Reading: Chapter 20, sections 20.1 – 20.2.


·       March 21:  Meet at Fiske Planetarium for show on “Hubble’s Expanding Universe”

o      Reading: Chapter 20, section 20.3.



Week 11 – March 24-28, Spring Break!



Week 12 – March 31 – April 4, Hubble’s Law and Galaxy Evolution


·       March 31: Hubble’s Law and Redshifts

o      Reading: Chapter 20, section 20.3.


·       April 2: Cosmological Expansion and the Formation of Galaxies

o      Reading: Chapter 21, sections 21.1 – 21.2.


·       April 4: Active Galaxies and Quasars

o      Reading: Chapter 21, section 21.3.


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 12:

o      Galaxies and Hubble’s Law (due April 7)



Week 13 – April 7-11, Dark Matter


·       April 7: Evidence for Dark Matter

o      Reading: Chapter 22, sections 22.1 – 22.2.


·       April 9: Gravitational Lenses and Large Scale Structures

o      Reading: Chapter 22, section 22.3.


·       April 11:  Meet at Fiske Planetarium for show “Dark Matter & Cosmological Structure Formation”

o      Reading: Chapter 22, section 22.3.


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Week 13:

o      Dark Matter (due April 14)



Week 14 – April 14-18, The Fate of the Universe


·       April 14: Dark Matter and the Fate of the Universe

o      Reading: Chapter 22, section 22.4.


·       April 16:  Exam 3.  Answer key here!


·       April 18: Dark Energy

o      Reading: Chapter 22, section 22.4.



Week 15 – April 21-25, The Big Bang & Cosmology


·       April 21: The First Few Moments of Creation

o      Reading: Chapter 23, sections 23.1 – 23.2


·       April 23: The Cosmic Microwave Background

o      Reading: Chapter 23, sections 23.2 – 23. 3


·       April 25: Evidence for the Big Bang and Inflation

o      Reading: Chapter 23, sections 23.3 – 23.4


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Weeks 15 & 16:

o      The Fate of the Universe (due April 30)



Week 16 – April 28 – May 2, Lunar Telescopes, Exoplanets & Wrap-up


·       April 28: Meet at Fiske Planetarium for show “Back to the Moon, Back to the Future”


·       April 30: New Worlds Observer (guest lecture by Phil Oakley)

o      Reading: Chapter 13


·       MasteringAstronomy Homework for Weeks 15 & 16:

o      The Fate of the Universe (due April 30)


·       May 2: Review for Final Exam. Answer key here!





Final Exam: Monday, May 5 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm in Duane G1B20.