ASTR 201 -- The Sun and Its Planets

Spring 2017

Time and Location: TR 10:00 -- 11:15, Sears 354

Instructor: Professor Chris Mihos
  • Office: Sears 557
  • Office Hours:  Tue/Thu 1-2
  • E-mail: mihos@case.edu
Teaching Assistant: Jay Franck
  • Office: Sears 572
  • Office Hours: Mon/Wed 2-3
  • Email: jrf110@case.edu
Website: http://burro.case.edu/Academics/Astr201/ -- check the website frequently for updates, including new assignments and schedule changes.

Textbook: The Cosmic Perspective: The Solar System by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit. IMPORTANT:  the official textbook is the 8th edition. If you are using an older version, please note that sometimes the homework questions change between editions. For even earlier editions, the chapters may be structured differently as well. If you are using an older, used textbook, be sure to do the correct homework questions when they are assigned!
Planetarium Software: The planetarium software I will use from time to time in class is Stellarium. It is freeware, so if you want to try it for yourself, you can download it from the Stellarium website and install it on your own computer.

Learning Outcomes: After completing the course, students should be able to:

Grading Scheme:
Graded work
Grading scale
Homework
40%
Six homework assignments
Midterm 1
15%
Mar 2 (in class)
Midterm 2
15%
 Apr 6 (in class)
Final Exam
30%
  May 9 (8:00-11:00am)
A
90-100
B
80-89
C
70-79
D
55-69
F
<55


Grading Policies:

Anonymized Grade Sheet

Tentative Schedule:

Week
Dates
Topic
Chapters
Due
Something Fun
1
Jan 17
A Modern View of the Universe
1



Jan 19
Discovering the Universe I
2


2
Jan 24
 Discovering the Universe II 2



Jan 26
Discovering the Universe III
The Science of Astronomy I
2
3

Sweeping Shadow
Eclipse Closeup
US Eclipses
Eclipse Path 2017
Closeup Path
3
Jan 31
Night Sky Interlude I: Winter
The Science of Astronomy II
3

Space Station Flyover

Feb 2
The Science of Astronomy III
Motion, Energy, and Gravity I
3
4

Heavens Above app
(ISS tracking, Iridium flares)
4
Feb 7
Motion, Energy, and Gravity II
4
HW 1


Feb 9
Motion, Energy, and Gravity III
Light & Matter I
4
5

Penumbral lunar eclipse
Eclipse timing
5
Feb 14
Light & Matter II
5



Feb 16
Telescopes
Our Planetary System I
6
7

Zoomable Earth at Night
6
Feb 21
Our Planetary System II
The Formation of the Solar System I

7
8
HW 2


Feb 23
Night Sky Interlude II: Spring
The Formation of the Solar System II
8

TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets
7
Feb 28
The Formation of the Solar System III
Midterm #1 Review
Planetary Geology I
9



Mar 2
Midterm Test #1 Chap 1-6,
  Winter/Spring Skies


8
Mar 7
Planetary Geology II
9
HW 3
Frontiers of Astronomy 
@CMNH (free!)

Mar 9
Planetary Geology III
9


9
Mar 14
Spring Break -- No class



Mar 16
Spring Break -- No class


10
Mar 21
Planetary Atmospheres I
10



Mar 23
Planetary Atmospheres II 10


11
Mar 28
Class cancelled

HW 4


Mar 30
Jovian Worlds I
Night Sky Interlude III: Summer
11

Flying above Mars
Midterm #1 Rewrite due
(no late rewrites accepted)
12
Apr 4
Jovian Worlds II
Midterm #2 Review
11

MAVEN results on
Mars' atmosphere


Apr 6
Midterm Test #2
Chap 7-10,
Summer Skies


13
Apr 11
Asteroids and Comets I 12
Cassini's Grand Finale

Apr 13
Asteroids and Comets II
Extrasolar Planets I
12
13

Frontiers of Astronony
@CMNH (free!)
14
Apr 18
Extrasolar Planets II 13
HW 5

Apr 20
The Sun I 14

Asteroid flyby

15
Apr 25
Night Sky Interlude IV: Fall
The Sun II
14
Midterm #2 Rewrite due
(no late rewrites accepted)

Apr 27
The End of the Sun
Final Exam review



--
May 2


HW 6
(due by noon;
no late HW accepted)

--
May 9
Final Exam, 8:00-11:00am
All chapters
All skies




Homework Assignments:

Homework assignments are questions from the 8th edition
Homework is due by 11:15am the day it is due!

HW
Due date
Assignment
(Questions in red are 10pts each, all others are 5pts each)
1
Feb 7
Chapter 1: 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 42, 46
Chapter 2: 6, 8, 9, 14, 42

Also
: You see the moon rising at 3am. What phase is it in? Draw a sketch to explain your answer.
2
Feb 21
Chapter 3: 9
Chapter 4: 4, 13, 52, 57 (note: the last two problems are 51, 56 in the 7th edition of the textbook)
Chapter 5: 15, 44, 54

Also
:
  • (10 points) Why wasn't the Copernican model of the solar system immediately accepted when it was first proposed? Describe the roles of Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo in the eventual triumph of the Copernican model. 
  • (10 points) a) About what time does a waxing crescent moon rise? b) About what time does a third quarter moon cross the meridian (where it is highest in the sky)? c) About what time does a waning gibbous moon set? In each case include a sketch of the Earth-Moon-Sun system to help explain your answer.
  • (10 points) You are on the Earth and looking at a set of stars, shown in this picture, and measuring the properties of an emission line of hydrogen that has a rest wavelength of 486.136 nanometers (nm).
    • For Stars A, D, and E, you are given the stars' speed and direction of motion (shown by the arrows). Calculate the observed Doppler shifted wavelength of the line for each star.
    • For Stars B and C, you are given the observed Doppler shifted wavelength of the line in each star. Work out the stars' speeds and explain whether they are moving towards us or away from us.
    • In Star F, you observe that its spectral line is both Doppler shifted and Doppler broadened. How fast is the star moving (towards or away?) and how fast is it rotating?
3
Mar 7
Chapter 6: 5, 9
Chapter 7: 3, 10, 39, 40
Chapter 8: 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 40
4
Mar 28
Chapter 9: 2, 3, 7, 44, 45
Chapter 10: 4, 7, 18, 19, 21, 49, 55
5
Apr 18
Chapter 11: 3, 7, 10, 11, 15, 45
Chapter 12: 7, 12, 38, 43, 45
6
May 2
Due by noon; HW #6 will not be accepted late!

Chap 13: 7, 10, 43, 44, 52
Chap 14: 7, 10, 13, 18, 50

Also:

Explain why many (but not all!) astronomers think Pluto shouldn't be considered a true planet. Also describe your own thoughts -- do you think Pluto should be restored to "true planet status"? Why or why not? (10 points)



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