Elementary Astronomy@NIU

Fall 2013: Section 1 (Monday nights)

Welcome to Elementary Astronomy at NIU for Fall 2013!

Course Syllabus

Fall 2013 Syllabus

Extra Credit event on Thursday November 7 at 7:30-9:00pm: Concert Poster

Text Readings by Date

August 26: No reading

September 2: No class

September 9: Read Popper paper

September 16: Read McDaid paper AND text p. 30-40 .

September 23: Read Galilei paper AND Text p. 74-84

September 30: Read Text p. 96-109

October 7: Read Landau and Strange paper

October 14: Read Odenwald and Green paper AND Text p. 276-286.

October 21: Read Text p. 246-266.

October 28: Read Hawking paper

November 4: Prepare for Exam 2 November 11: No new reading, online discussion November 18: Read Text p. 419-428 and Read Text p. 384-394.

November 25: Read Greene paper

December 2: No reading

December 9: No reading


Lecture 1: The Night Sky

Lecture 2: What is Science?

Lecture 3: The Sun and the Moon

Lecture 4: Telescopes

Lecture 5: The Solar System

Lecture 6: Space Travel

Lecture 7: The Sun

Lecture 8: Measuring Stars

Lecture 9: Stellar Evolution

Lecture 10: The Milky Way

Lecture 11: Galaxies

Lecture 12: Dark Energy and Dark Matter

Lecture 13: Cosmology and Astrobiology

Supplemental Links

Lecture 1: The Night Sky
Stellarium --> The night sky program we used in class, free for download.

Lecture 2: What is Science?
Isaac Asimov on Science --> An interesting treatment of the concepts of "right" and "wrong" theories in science.

These articles start to show how science works, with one group proposing something and another questioning the accuracy. I have to side with the questioner (Phil Plait) as the paper in the journal seems kind of shaky. Thanks to Bryan C for sending me this!

Diatoms in Space? --> The paper
Claims of alien life unfounded --> The response to this paper by Phil Plait (who is famous for going after pseudoscience in astronomy)

Lecture 3: The Sun and the Moon

Lecture 4: Telescopes

Lecture 5: The Solar System

Lecture 6: Space Travel

Lecture 7: The Sun
SpaceWeather --> Provides constant updates on solar activity, in addition to other space info.

The Higgs Boson --> Nice resources to learn more about the Higgs Boson.

Lecture 8: Measuring Stars

Lecture 9

Lecture 10

Lecture 11

Lecture 12

Lecture 13


August 26: No Pre-Questions

September 2: No Class

September 9: Pre-Questions 1

September 16: Pre-Questions 2

September 23: Pre-Questions 3

September 30: Pre-Questions 4

October 7: Pre-Questions 5

October 14: Pre-Questions 6

October 21: Pre-Questions 7

October 28: Pre-Questions 8

November 4: No Pre-Questions due

November 11: No Pre-Questions due

November 18: Pre-Questions 9

November 25: Pre-Questions 10

December 2: Pre-Questions 11 (Bring 7 questions on the Final Exam Study Guide)

December 9: No Pre-Questions due


Homework 1: Science (due Sept. 9)

Homework 2: The Moon (due Oct. 28)

Homework 3: Telescopes (due Oct 7)

Homework 4: The Orbit of Mercury (due Oct. 21)

Homework 5: Measuring Stars (due Nov. 4) Plot the spectral classes on the x-axis, starting with O0,
next line O2, next O4, etc. Next after O8 is B0,
and so on. For the y-axis, plot absolute magnitude
from 20 (at bottom) to -10 (at top), one line per magnitude. Remember to include 0.

Guidance for Homework 5. This shows what to look for once you search for a star on the SIMBAD website.

YOU MAY NOT USE SIRIUS, since I show that one here.

Homework 6: The Big Picture (due Nov. 11)

Homework 7: Galaxies (due Nov. 25)

Homework 8: Dark Matter (due Dec. 2)

Study Guides for Exams

Exam 1 Study Guide

Exam 2 Study Guide

Final Exam Study Guide

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