Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology - ASTR 1754

Spring 2017

Columbia University
Barnard College

Syllabus - Spring 2017

  • Basic Structure

    This introductory astronomy course focuses on the subject of Sun, the Stars, our Galaxy, other Galaxies, and the origin and fate of the Universe.
  • Learning Goals: Students who successfully complete this course will:

    • understand how astronomers deduce the properties of stars & galaxies at great distances from us using physical principles observed on Earth
    • understand how stars evolve and create the chemical elements of the universe
    • learn about the discovery of galaxies and the expansion of the universe
    • learn about how astronomers think the universe began and how it has evolved
  • Office Hours

    • Usually Tues 4-5, Thurs 12:30-1:30 in 503 Altschul
  • Lectures

    • T TH 2:40-3:55, 202 Altschul
    • Students are strongly urged to attend class on a regular basis; if you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get the material from a classmate. Lecture outlines will be posted on Courseworks.
  • Textbook

    • 21c Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies 5e , by Kay, Palen, & Blumenthal 2016
    • Earlier editions are not recommended.
    • If you are planning to take a second semester of Astronomy (eg Astr BC1753, or Astr UN1403) then you may get the full book 21c Astronomy, 5e by Kay et al; so you can also use it for the 2nd semester.
  • Distribution Requirements

    • Barnard Nine Ways ASTR BC 1754 satisfies the Barnard Quantitative Reasoning requirement and along with the lab course ASTR UN1904 can be applied towards the Barnard lab science requirement.
    • Barnard Foundations ASTR BC 1754 satisfies Science and 'Thinking Quantitatively', and the lab course ASTR UN1904 satisfies the Barnard lab science requirement.
    • Columbia College ASTR BC 1754 can be used towards the Columbia College science requirement. Lab is not required.
  • Labs

    • Students who want laboratory credit should sign up for the one point course ASTR UN1904x.
    • This is an L course so enroll ASAP.
    • Labs meet in the evenings and will begin on Jan 23.
    • A separate grade is given for the lab course.
  • Communications

    • Courseworks is set up for instructors to send email to the entire class. This will be used for schedule changes, HW hints, etc. Please check your email!
  • Teaching Assistants

  • Homework:

    • Problem sets will be due in class approximately every other week.
    • Late HW will NOT be accepted after the solutions are handed out.
    • You may work with other students together on the homework, but the writeups submitted must be all your own work in your own words, not duplicated/copied and pasted.
    • HW is required; you cannot pass this course by exam grades alone.
    • The lowest HW score (which can be one you missed) will be dropped; the remaining scores will count for 20% of your final grade.
  • Quizzes:

    • There will be 4 short open--note quizzes.
    • The lowest score will be dropped; this includes quizzes missed for illness, sports meets, etc. The remaining ones will count for 15% of your final grade.
    • No make-up quizzes will be offered without prior approval.
  • Extra Credit essay:

    • Optional extra-credit essay. Details on essay later. (EC)
  • Exams:

    • We'll have one midterm Mar 7, and a final exam during the scheduled time on THURS MAY 11 from 1:10-4 PM.
    • The exams will be closed book (with a given equation sheet and you can bring a page of notes).
    • The midterm exam will count for 25%, and the final exam for 40%.
  • Note:

    • Students with disabilities who will be taking this course & may need disability-related accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me as soon as possible. Disabled students who need test or classroom accommodations must be registered in advance with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).

Schedule - (approximate)

Dates Topics 21st Century Astronomy 5e
Jan 17 Introduction and Overview
Jan 19 Light and Atoms 5
Jan 24 Telescopes 6
Jan 26, 31, Feb 2 Taking the Measure of Stars 13
Feb 7, 9 The Sun 14
Feb 14, 16 Energy and the Sun
Feb 21 Star Formation & Extrasolar Planets 15, 7.5
Feb 23, 28 Stellar Evolution: Low Mass Stars 16
Mar 2 Stellar Evolution: High Mass Stars 17
Mar 7 MIDTERM 5-6, 7.5, 13-17.3 (first subsection of 17.3)
Mar 9 Stellar Evolution: Neutron Stars 17
Mar 14, 16 no class- Spring Break
Mar 21, 23 Relativity, Black Holes 18
Mar 28, 30 Galaxies and AGN 19
Apr 4, 6 The Milky Way 20
Apr 6, 11 The Expanding Universe 21
Apr 13, 18 The Early Universe, Dark Energy 22
Apr 20, 25 Origin of Structure 23
Apr 27 Life in the Universe 24
May 11 FINAL EXAM 1-4 PM

Due dates

  • Homework Assignments

    Homework 1 Feb 2
    Homework 2 Feb 16
    Homework 3 Mar 2
    Homework 4 Mar 30
    Homework 5 Apr 13
    Extra Credit Apr 25
    Homework 6 Apr 27
  • Quizzes

    Quiz 1 Feb 9
    Quiz 2 Feb 23
    Midterm Mar 7
    Quiz 3 Apr 6
    Quiz 4 Apr 25
    Final May 11

Astronomy Laboratory
Spring Semester - 2017

Labs begin Jan 23.

Teaching Assistants

Help Sessions: Tiffany, Weds 11 AM-12 PM

Pupin 14th Floor Library