Astro 120: Fall 2003 Course Outline

This outline below give the tentative schedule of lectures for this term. The approximate dates for each lecture are indicated. Keep in mind that we reserve the right to flexibility and will not strictly adhere to this schedule! This allows us to cover some subjects in greater or lesser detail as new discoveries are made during the term. Readings are in the textbook The Cosmic Perspective, Volume 1 by Bennett et al. (3nd Edition).

DateNumberTopicReading (Bennett)
Aug. 26 1 Overview: Our Universe, Solar System, and Species Chapter 1, pp. 1-18, 22-23
28 2 The Cosmic Fishbowl - celestial coordinates and motions Chapter 2, Sect. 2.1 - 2.2
Chapter S1, Sect. S1.4 - S1.5
 
Sept. 2 3 The Sun and the seasons Chapter 2, Section 2.3
4 4 More on the apparent motion of the Sun
9 5 Phases of the moon Chapter 2, Section 2.5
11 6 Lunar and solar eclipses Chapter 2, Section 2.5
16 7 Renaissance astronomy Chapter 3 Section 3.5
Chapter 2, Section 2.6
Chapter 3, Section 3.1-3.4
18 8 Kepler's Laws (and Galileo's, too) Chapter 3, Section 3.4
23 9 Newton's Laws, weight and mass Chapter 5, thru Section 5.3
25 10 Rocket Science! JPL Web page on transfer orbits
30 11 The structure and properties of our solar system Chapter 8
 
Oct. 2-- EXAM 1
7 12 Planetary Surfaces I - Physical Processes Chapter 10, Section 10.1, 10.3
9 13 Planetary Surfaces II - Ages of surfaces, and the Moon Chapter 9, Section 9.5
Chapter 10, Section 10.3-10.4
14 14 The surfaces of the terrestrial planets: Moon, Mercury, and Venus Chapter 10 , Section 10.4, 10.6
16 15 Mars, and intro to planetary atmospheres Chapter 10, Section 10.5
21 16 Atmospheres of the inner planets, and global warming on Earth Chapter 11, Sections 11.1-11.3, 11.5-6
23 17 The structure of the giant planets Chapter 12, through Section 12.4
28 18 The icy moons of the outer planets Chapter 12, Section 12.5
30 19 Tides and rings Chapter 5, Section 5.4
Chapter 12, Section 12.6
 
Nov. 4 20 Asteroids and meteorites: remnants of the origin of our solar system Chapter 13, Section 13.1-13.3
6 21 Planetary collisions: past, present and future Chapter 9, Section 9.4
Chapter 13, Section 13.6
11 22 Astrology and pseudoscience in-class "quiz" and web assignment
13 -- EXAM 2
18 23 Comets and their origins Chapter 13, Section 13.4
20 24 The Sun: an ordinary star Chapter 15
 
Dec. 2 25 The origin of our solar system Chapter 9, Section 9.1-9.4
4 26 The search for life in the Universe I: Searches for new planetary systems Chapter 9, Section 9.6
9 27 The search for life in the Universe II: Searches for intelligence Chapter 24
11 28 The fate of our solar system. Conclusions Chapter 24