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ASTR 314 : Survey of Astronomy Fall 2013

Instructor Dr. Casey Papovich, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Ofce: Mitchell Institute 325 Phone: 979-862-2704 Webpage: Email: Ofce Hours: Tues 11:00 am -12 pm, Thurs 2-3 pm, and by appointment Mr. Steven Boada Ofce: Mitchell Institute 317 Phone: 979-845-6140 Email: Ofce Hours: TBD, and by appointment Section 500: Tu, Th 9:35 am - 10:50 am Section 501: Tu, Th 11:10 am - 12:25 am Location: MPHYS 109 Webpage: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, 2nd Edition by Carroll and Ostlie. ISBN: 0-8053-0402-9

Teaching Assistant

Class Information


Cosmology : the science of the origin and development of the universe. Astronomy and Cosmology are the oldest of sciences, and for millennia people have studied the sky wondering about their relationship to the Universe. However, many major discoveries in these sciences have occurred only recently. I hope you have chosen this class because you share my passion for this science. In this class we will discuss how humanity has come to understand the Universe and the galaxies, stars, clusters of galaxies, and other objects it contains. We will cover a range of topics in astronomy, with an emphasis on extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology, including evidence for dark matter and dark energy, black holes, the evolution of the Universe, the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies, etc. My goal is that by the end of the class you will be able to understand breaking news in cosmology when it appears.
Grading Policy Your nal grade will be a combination of the grades from 2 mid-terms (22% each), nal exam (23%), regular homework (20%), in-class participation and quizzes (13%). The nal letter grade will be assigned using the following table (adjustments may be possible): A = 90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F < 60% There will be two in-class mid-terms and a nal exam. The nal exam will be comprehensive, but will emphasize material since the previous midterm. The best way to prepare for the Exams is to do all the Homework and Quizzes ! No notes are allowed in the exams. The values of physical constants and uncommon formula will be provided. Scientic calculators will be needed for the exams (programmable calculators must have their memories erased before the exam). There will be regular homework, mostly taken from the textbook. These will normally due at the beginning of each Thursday lecture. Homework problems will normally be taken from the textbook. While you are encouraged to work together on homework assignments, the work you turn in must be your own, and never copied.
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ASTR 314 : Survey of Astronomy Fall 2013

Grading Show your work ! On Homework and Exams, your answers must show the steps toward the solution in order to receive the full score. Answers given with little justication will receive much lower scores. Solutions with some correct steps will receive partial credit. There will be several unannounced quizzes given during class. These will be graded : 100% for making good effort, 70% for making minimal effort, 50% for showing up but only putting your name on a quiz, and 0% for missing a quiz. There will be several online quizzes using the Texas A&M eLearning center. Go to and log in. These quizzes will test your math skills, which are needed to do well in this class. There will also be a practice exam before each exam and nal. Extra credit will be given to students have achieved 100% scores on the online quizzes and exams before each exam ! Absences Only ofcially excused absences as outlined by the University Regulations will be accepted for missing an exam or the nal. If you know you will be absent, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. The class will be a combination of blackboard lectures, presentations using a computer projector, and in-class science demonstrations. You are strongly encouraged to take notes. All presentations using the projector will be made available the day of each class, but you should take notes on everything. Any of the material covered in class may show up on exams.



ADA Policy

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities, in Room 126 of the Koldus Building or call 845-1637. For additional information visit http:// I consider it a privilege to work with students of such character as that of Aggies. The honor code sets Texas A&M apart from other universities, see, and you should be proud of the standard this sets. I expect that you will uphold the Aggie principle, An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do. On all quizzes, exams and the essay you should abide by the Aggie code of conduct, "On my honor as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work." For homework, I encourage you to talk to other students and to help each other as you will all learn better this way. However, the work you turn in should be your own, never copied from another student.

Honor Code

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ASTR 314 : Survey of Astronomy Fall 2013

Lecture(s) Aug 27 - 29 Sep 3 - 5 Sep 10 - 12 Sep 17 - 19 Sep 24 - 26 Tuesday, Oct 1 Oct 3 Oct 8 Oct 10 - 17 Oct 22 - 24 Oct 29 - 31 Tuesday, Nov 5 Nov 7 Nov 12 Nov 14 - 19 Nov 21 - 26 Nov 28 Dec 3 Friday, Dec 6

Tentative Syllabus (subject to change) Historical Cosmology and an Overview of the Universe. Reading: Carroll & Ostlie (C&O) Ch 1.1-1.2 Celestial Mechanics, The Solar System, Keplers Laws, Newtonian Gravity. C&O Ch 2.1-2.4, 19.1-19.2 Astronomical Observations, Light Emission from Astronomical Objects. C&O Ch 3 Interaction of light and matter, Radioactivity, C&O Ch 5, Ch 20.4 Special Theory of Relativity, C&O Ch 4 Midterm #1 (In Class) Physics of Stellar Spectra, the Classication of Stars. C&O Ch 7.2-7.4, Ch 8 Telescopes, C&O Ch 6 Stellar Interiors and Nucleosynthesis. Evolution of Stars. C&O Ch 10, Ch 13, Ch 14.1 The Birth and Death of Stars, Compact Objects, White Dwarf Stars, Neutron Stars. C&O Ch 15.1-15.3, Ch 16 General Theory of Relativity, Black Holes C&O Ch 17 Midterm #2 (In Class) The Milky Way Galaxy, evidence for a supermassive black hole in the Galactic Center. C&O Ch 24 Galaxies, Evidence for Dark Matter. C&O Ch 25 Evidence for the Expansion of the Universe, Dark Energy. Clusters of Galaxies, Large Scale Structure, More evidence for Dark matter. C&O Ch 27 The Big Bang, Evidence for Dark Energy, The Beginning and End of the Universe. C&O Ch 29 - Ch 30 THANKSGIVING BREAK, NO CLASS Life in the Universe Final Exam, 12:30 - 2:30 pm (for the 9:35-10:50 am section) 3 - 5 pm (for the 11:10 am - 12:25 pm section)
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