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Basic Astronomy

Course Notes        Lab Project        Homework        Solutions
2010 Fall Term, Caltech
Course Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2-3pm in 219 Cahill.

Prof: Anneila Sargent
      215 Cahill
      Ext: 6100
      Office hours: MWF 3-4pm

TA:   Kunal Mooley 
      265 Cahill
      Ext: 6813
      Office hours: Tue 7:30-8:30pm 
Course Updates:
1) Lab projects are divided into 3 sections - A, B and C - each carrying 5 points (see the PDF file using "Lab Project" link above). We'll resume project A upon favorable weather.

3) Projects B & C have been combined into one: P-60 observations. Details are as follows
        Prepare a proposal which describes the applications of selected class of object (eg. if you propose to observe Pleiades, which is an open star cluster, then describe why observations of star clusters are important, incuding what information we can gather by studying open clusters). The basic outline of your proposal should be:
(i) Which source you want to observe (give its name, coordinates, average magnitude, type of object)?
(ii) Why observe this object?
(iii) What are the approximate rise and set times of the source in the first / second week of November?
(iv) Given its magnitude, angular size, and coordinates, can it be observed with P60 in November?

        This project requires you to explore astronomical objects and do some bit of reading apart from what is recommended in class. Following are some good places to start searching for possible objects to observe.
(i) Wikipedia articles on planet , binary star , star cluster , and nebula .
(ii) NASA's Imagine the Universe
(iii) Google Sky
(iv) SIMBAD (Database of Astronomical Objects)
(v) NASA website
(vi) Hubble

4) Trip to Palomar Observatory: Please send me pohotographs of the trip (in case you want to share them) so that I can upload them on this website.

"An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics" (2nd Edition, 2007)
Bradley Carroll & Dale Ostlie, ISBN 978-0805304022
(Pearson/Addison Wesley/Benjamin Cummings)

Homework (probably 6 sets) 35 %
Project 15 %
Mid-term (closed book, open personal notes) 20 %
Final (closed book, open personal notes) 30 %

Homework Policy:
Homeworks will be posted every Wednesday (as of now) and due next Wednesday by 5 pm in my mailbox (Cahill 2nd floor). I will post solutions after I have received all the homeworks. Homeworks will account for 35% of the total grade.

Extensions can be granted by me or Anneila for 24 hours. Only Anneila can grant longer extensions. If you guys have problems with the grading, I suggest you talk to me first and if we can't resolve the issues, then we can talk to Anneila.

Collaboration Policy:
First, try every homework problem by yourself. You may consult books or published papers. You may NOT use assignments from previous years or the work of other students. If you have difficulties, you may consult the TA or discuss a problem with others to reach a better understanding. You may NOT show each other equations, graphs or computer problems. Write up solutions by yourself.