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COURSE NUMBER: ASTR 201
COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Astronomy II
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Brian Martin
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 3)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A continuation of Astronomy 200, the course will focus on galactic astronomy as well as a discussion of major ideas in cosmology. Topics will include structure and formation of the galaxy, experimental techniques in astronomy and the Big-Bang cosmology and possible alternative models. The course concludes with a return to the earth-sun system and the question of origins. The course has both daytime and occasional evening lab components.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Seeds, Michael. Foundations of Astronomy; 11th edition. (ITP Nelson)
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Laboratory Assignments and Projects25%
Lab Assignments15%
Midterm Exam25%
Final Exam35%
100%
CONTENT OUTLINE:
  • The physics of stars, including a discussion of temperature, colour, radius and mass will be reviewed This will lead to the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and the spectral sequence and provide a backdrop against which the paradigm of stellar evolution may be explored and applied to galactic astronomy
  • Variable stars including intrinsic and binary star systems will be explored. The applications of Kepler's 3rd law to binary systems will be used to determine some of the physical parameters of stars.
  • Star clusters, nebulae and motion of stars within our galaxy will be discussed. This will include a discussion of techniques used to determine the distances to stars within the galaxy and the establishment of "cosmic yardsticks".
  • Galactic astronomy will be introduced and focus on the structure and morphology of galaxies as well as implications that galactic astronomy has for cosmology. The problem of missing mass, quasars and the red shift problem will be discussed.
  • Cosmology, including a discussion of early 20th century models, as well as the Big-Bang cosmology will be considered. Of particular interest will be a discussion of recent controversy regarding the Big Bang cosmology and the red shift problem. The topic of nucleosynthesis will be raised and applied to the formation of the solar system and the emergence of life within the universe. This will lead to a discussion of the problem of origins and the scope and limitation of scientific treatments of this question.

The second term course on astronomy will acquaint the student with one of the major achievements of science - the understanding of stellar astrophysics. It will also introduce the student to some of the more speculative ideas in science including black holes, the inflationary universe, and cosmic strings. Throughout the course there will be numerous opportunities to discuss the nature of science and to subject the discussion to perspectival questions regarding thematic and philosophic choices. The red shift controversy is an example of this. Also, the problem of reconciling faith statements regarding the formation of the universe and astrophysical theory will be explored.
LAB SCHEDULE:
  • Jan 15
    • Review of magnitude and distance concepts - This is intended to give you a quick introduction to some of the major ideas from last term
    • HR Diagram and distance modulus (Solutions)
  • Jan 22
    • Cephied Variables and Galactic Distances - practice using the period-luminosity relationship and how Cepheids can be used as distance indicators (Solutions)
  • Jan 29
    • Finding the Galactic Center - Retrace Shapley's argument to show where we are in the galaxy!
  • Feb 5
    • Quasars and Redshifts - practice using the redshift relations (Solutions)
  • Feb 26
    • Hubble Lab- Expansion of the Universe 
  • Mar 5
    • Hubble Lab - Expansion of the Universe (continued)
  • Mar 12
    • Measuring the Moon (part1 of Lab Project #3)
  • Mar 19
    • Measuring the Planets (part2 of Lab Project #3)
  • April 9
    • Comet Linear - measure the speed and kinetic energy of a comet


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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