M51 images (multi-band)

Fall 2015: ASTR 1200 (Section 2)
General Astronomy: Stars & Galaxies

Instructor: Professor Michael Shull (Duane D235)
Teaching Assistant: Erika Zetterlund (Duane D248)

Class Lectures: MWF (11:00 am - 11:50 am)
Duane G-130 (Physics & Astrophysics Building)

Office Hours: MWF (1:30-3:30 pm) and Tu-Th (9:00-10:30 am) in Duane D-235

Three Midterm Tests: Sept 16, Oct 9, Nov 6 (in class)
Final: Thursday Dec 17, 2015 (4:30-7:00 pm)

Observing Nights at Sommers-Bausch Observatory (Sept 1, 15, 21; Oct 1, 13, 29; Nov 10)

Course information

Course Syllabus

Instructor/TA: Office Hours, Contact Information

ASTR 1200 is a General Astronomy survey course covering stars, galaxies, extra-galactic objects, and the universe on the largest scales. The class has no pre-requisites, and ASTR 1200 and ASTR 1000 can be taken in either order. Both classes were designed for the College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum. In ASTR 1200, we will discuss the many varieties of stars, their nuclear burning, and late stages of stellar evolution leading to white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, supernova explosions, and black holes. We will then discuss galaxies, clusters, quasars, and the Hubble expansion of the universe. The last part of the class deals with Cosmology: the evolution and structure of the universe, including dark matter, dark energy, and Big Bang Theory for the origin of the expansion. The class format will provide opportunities for in-depth discussion of scientific concepts, together with devloping skills in problem-solving (5 homework sets) and writing (5 short essays). Students should have, and will further develop, basic skills in quantitative reasoning, including understanding graphs, proportional scaling, and simple formulae with units. The course will begin with reviews of material on light (electromagnetic radiation), matter and energy, forces and orbits, and the fundamental forces of nature. Throughout the term, students will be asked to relate studies of universe to our culture and philosophy, as they shape our ideas of the cosmos.