Instructor: Philip S. Harrington
Office: 631-344-5669 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm)
Office hours: By appointment
Textbook (required...and FREE!): Astronomy (openstax.org)
Course hours: Tuesday 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.; Thursday 6:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Make measurements using the metric system and perform simple forms of data analysis to enhance problem-solving skills.
Understand the night sky by knowing major stars and constellations using a planisphere (star finder).
Understand the scientific method and how it applies to astronomy. This will provide an understanding of how our ideas about the universe have evolved over the ages, especially during the past century while using technological advances.
Identify major characteristics of stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and quasars. Using this information, you will be able understand how these physical properties can be used to form a standard theory on the formation and evolution of the universe.
Have a clear understanding of the scale of the universe and our position within.
Have a sufficient understanding of astronomical phenomena so as to have an appreciation of recent developments in the field.
Student Requirements for Completion of Course
To pass this course successfully, each student must complete the following:
Complete all reading and homework assignments, including the term paper, mid-term, and final exams to the best of the student's abilities and ON TIME
Attend all classes. If you know that you will be absent for a class, please inform me beforehand. If you are out sick, please be prepared to have a valid reason. For extended absences, a doctor's note may be requested.
Attendance on Religious Observance – Syllabus
As provided for in Students must notify their professor , student absences from class necessitated by religious observance will be deemed an excused absence, with no academic consequences. in advance of their religious observance, via their College email accounts or otherwise in writing, of their intention to be absent from a particular class due to a religious observance; notification should occur at least one week prior to the religious observance. Observing students shall be granted reasonable arrangements and/or be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up missed quizzes, tests, assignments, and activities covered in their absence. Please refer to the College’s Religious Observance Policy, which is available on the Office of Legal Affairs’ website, for additional information.
Successfully pass all tests
Take good, concise class notes
Ask questions and participate in discussions
Astronomy and space exploration are in the news all the time. Your assignment across the semester is to submit ten news articles from bona fide sources that discuss some aspect of astronomy or space exploration. Articles must be no more than one year old. You are to read each article and then write a brief summary/discussion of the content on this article submission form . Attach a copy of the article to the form and submit both to the instructor. If approved, you will receive 10 points toward a test grade. Ten approved articles equals a score of 100 on a test. You may hand in all ten at once, or submit them weekly, BUT you must have handed in at least five articles by the midterm. After the midterm, no more than five will be accepted for the rest of the semester. This assignment counts the same as a test grade.
You may earn up to 10 points extra credit during the semester. Each submitted project is worth between 1 and 4 extra-credit points depending on level of effort and quality. Here are some suggestions:
Attend a planetarium show (such as at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan, the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, or the Chalsty Planetarium at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ) and submit an extra-credit report describing the show's content. You must attach your admission ticket to your report to receive credit for any of these options.
If you visit the Hayden Planetarium, you may also complete this exhibit worksheet as a separate extra-credit activity.
If you visit the Cradle of Aviation Museum, you may also complete this exhibit worksheet as a separate extra-credit activity.
Attend an astronomy lecture, such as at the monthly open house at State University at Stony Brook, Montauk Observatory, or Custer Institute. Submit of an extra credit report form telling of the lecture's content afterwards. Click on the links to view each institution's home page and schedule.
Walk the the scale model of the solar system at Heritage Park in Mt. Sinai, completing this worksheet along the way. To receive extra credit, you must take a selfie next to the Saturn sign as proof that you were actually there. You may attach a print of the selfie to this worksheet or e-mail it to me separately. But a hardcopy of the worksheet must be submitted. An e-mail copy of the worksheet will not be accepted.
Listen to a podcast of any of the 30 astronomy lectures available here: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/podcast Same rules apply as above. You must fill out an extra credit report form telling of the lecture's content afterwards.
Watch a video of any lecture listed in the Harvard Center for Astrophysics' Observatory Night Video Archive or the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures. Check their listing from past years, as well as the current year's offerings. Again, same rules apply. You must fill out an extra credit report form telling of the lecture's content afterwards.
Watch a TED Talk. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks lasting 18 minutes or less. Topics range from science to business to global issues. Only requirement for receiving extra credit is that the topic you choose to view must be related to astronomy or space exploration. And again, same rules above apply. You must fill out an extra credit report form for telling of the lecture's content afterwards.
Try your luck at astrophotography by photographing the Moon, a planet, or the stars. Download and read Kodak's Astrophotography Basics for a good introduction. Speak to me for additional information.
Suffolk County Community
provides reasonable accommodations to registered students with
have self-identified and been approved by the Office of Disability
Once approved for reasonable accommodations, such students will be
a laminated letter, describing the specific accommodations.
must present this laminated letter to each of their professors before
accommodations can be provided.
Students who have, or think
may have, a disability are invited to contact Disability Services for a
confidential consultation. Call the Disability Services Office at
631-451-4045, email the Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
stop by to make an appointment at Room 202 in the Ammerman Building.
| Dates || Topic || Test/Assignment|
|1/29||Introduction to course|
|Chapter 2: Observing the Sky: The Birth of Astronomy|
|2/7||Chapter 5: Radiation and Spectra|
|2/14||Chapter 16: The Sun: A Nuclear Powerhouse||Practice test for chapters 2, 5, 16|
|Chapter 17: Analyzing Starlight||2/19: Test #1 (Ch 2, 5, 16)|
|Chapter 18: The Stars: A Celestial Census||Practice
test for chapters 17-18
|Chapter 19: Celestial Distances||2/28: Test #2 (Ch 17, 18)
3/5: Evening common hour; class ends @ 7
|Chapter 20: Between the Stars: Gas and Dust in Space||Practice test for chapters 19-20|
|3/12|| No class tonight
|Chapter 21: The Birth of Stars and the Discovery of Planets outside the Solar System||3/19: Midterm exam (Ch 2, 5, 16-20)
3/21: At least 5 news articles due by tonight
3/21: Evening common hour; class ends @ 7
|Chapter 22: Stars: From Adolescence to Old Age|
|4/9|| Chapter 23: The Death of Stars
test for chapters 21-22
Note: chapters 23 and 24 are combined into one PDF file
Chapter 24: Black Holes and Curved Spacetime
||4/11: Test #4 (Ch 21, 22) --- NEW DATE|
|Chapter 25: The Milky Way Galaxy||Practice test for chapters 23-24-25|
|4/23||Chapter 26: Galaxies||4/23: Test #5 (Ch 23, 24, 25)|
|4/25||Chapter 27: Quasars and Active Galaxies|
|Chapter 28: The Evolution & Distribution of Galaxies||5/2: Last night to hand in homework, extra credits, labs, and articles|
|5/7|| Chapter 29: The Big Bang
Review for Final: Stellar Jeopardy
|5/9||Final Exam||Comprehensive test, concentrating on Ch 21-29|
||Posting of final grades|
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