ASTR 2310, Spring 2012, Brotherton Instructor

Foundations of Astrophysics: Solar System

This is a (lightly) calculus-based, introductory astronomy class designed for science majors, particularly astronomy and physics majors. A follow-up course, ASTR 2320, will cover stars and galaxies at the same level in alternate years.

Lecture Slides and other materials and links:

Chapter 1 slides. Blog entry with some celestial sphere videos.

Chapter 1 example problems.

Chapter 2, part 1. (pdf) Slides in ppt (may be issues with symbols).Carl Sagan on Ancient Astro nomy. Youtube video. Brian Malow on Galileo. Time video. My article about Galileo for a teaching-oriented publication, Galileo's Classroom.

Chapter 2, part 2. (pdf) Slides in ppt (may be issues with symbols).

Not everyone believes the Earth moves. Check it out. We call these people cranks. Worse in private. They really exist. Not all humans have a fully functioning brain. It is sad but true.

A really nice webpage about Orbital Mechanics that I recommend for you.

Chapter 3 slides (powerpoint). Chapter 3 example problems. (powerpoint)

A nice youtube video about the Earth-Moon system.

Chapter 4 part 1. (powerpoint) Chapter 4 part 1 (pdf)

A good youtube video about phases of the moon.

The webpage for the movie A Private Universe.

Great youtube video showing lunar librations.

Chapter 4 part 2. (eclipses, powerpoint)

An ok youtube video about eclipses.

Practice exam (in pdf) covering chatpers 1-4 of the text. Note that for the exam you should know the formulas for Kepler's 3rd Law, Newton's Law of Gravitation, and F=ma. Also you should know basic geometric formulas, such as for triangles, circles, and spheres. Other formulas needed will be provided. Note that this practice test only has a few example questions in each section. I will see if I can dig up the actual exam from 2010, although it may live on a different machine than the one I use now...

I did find it. A second practice exam 1.

The electromagentic spectrum song." Dumb, but funny. Starting Chapter 5...

Wiki on Wave-Particle Duality.

Bohr model video.

Chapter 5. (powerpoint)

Eric Sandquist's webpage of astronomy animations, especially for now about blackbody curves.

Chapter 6. (powerpoint)

Chapter 7. (powerpoint)

Chapter 8 Slides. (ppt)

Practice exam 2 (in doc) covering chatpers 5-8 of the text. Note that for the exam you should know the formulas for Kepler's 3rd Law, Newton's Law of Gravitation, and F=ma. Also Wein's Law, the Stefan-Botlmann Law (but not the constant). Also you should know basic geometric formulas, such as for triangles, circles, and spheres. Other formulas needed will be provided.

Chapter 9 Slides. (ppt)

Chapter 10 Slides. (ppt) Primarily just links to youtube videos about the planets. Supplemented by lecture/whiteboard. Here is a video for Venus from Space School. The Ray Bradbury "All Summer in a Day" Venus story is available here and was also dramatized:

Chapter 11 Slide. (ppt) Primarily just a link to videos about the small bodies in the solar system, and an outline. Supplemented by lecture/whiteboard for radiation pressure and Poynting-Robertson effect.

Chapter 12 Slides. (ppt) Solar system conclusions, comparative planetology. Exoplanets, discovery techniques and properties.

Practice exam 3 (in pdf) covering chatpers 9-12 of the text. Mathematical things you should still retain from previous chapters or memorize from the current chapters: Newton's version of Kepler's third law. Newton's law of gravitation, F=ma, circular acceleration, momentum (linear and angular), parallax and parsecs, various basic geometric formulas, Wien's Law, Steffan-Boltzmann Law, kinetic and potential energy, how half-life and scale height works...


Homework 1: Problems 1-9 from chapter 1 of Ryden. Question 10: find what you think is the best and most educational video from youtube on the topic of the celestial sphere. DUE THURSDAY January 19 in CLASS.

Homework 2. Probelms 1-6 from chapter 2 of Ryden and Peterson. Also find a youtube video on greek astronomy or the Copernican revolution (Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, Galileo) and email that to me AND Shannon, please. Also, a special real-life question you should be able to do now: "I am the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, and we are in the process of doing preliminary planning for our yearly programs calendar. We would really like to have a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on May 20th, but I want to verify that Rawlins will have a good view of it. So far, my research has not been able to answer this question for me, and I was hoping you could provide a little "light" on the subject. Is Rawlins in the viewing path of the solar eclipse?" Let's help them out. DUE THURSDAY January 26 in class.

Homework 3: Problems in chapter 3, 1-6, 8-10. Hint for 3.3: Taylor expansion will be useful. Ask me or Shannon for help if Taylor expansions are a new thing for you. There's also a link below. DUE THURSDAY Feb. 2 in Class.

Homework 4: Problems 4.1-4.9 in Ryden and Peterson. DUE THURSDAY February 9 in Lab. Note that we're planning the first exam for Feb. 16, covering chapters 1-4.

Homework 5: Problems 5.5 to 5.8 in Ryden and Peterson, plus find a good youtube video for one of the major topics in chapter 5 (e.g. Bohr model, blackbody radiation, etc.), at the right level. There's a lot of stuff in this chapter, and the text problems aren't enough to learn how to work problems using these concepts so there are an additional set of problems for chapter 5: 10 problems (pdf). Everything is due in class on Thursday March 1.

Homework 6: Problems 6.1 through 6.6 in Ryden and Peterson. Due THURSDAY March 8 in class.

Homework 7: Problems 7.1 through 7.9 in Ryden and Peterson. Due THURSDAY March 29 in class. A few of the problems look a little involved, so start early!

Homework 8: Problems 8.1 through 8.7. Due THURSDAY April 5 in class.

Homework 9: Problems 9.1, 9.2, 9.4-9.7, 9.10. Due Thursday April 19 in class.

Homework 10: Problems 10.1, 10.2, 10.4, 10.6, 10.8, 10.9, 11.1-11.5. Due Thursday April 26 in class. Also suggested are 12.2-12.4, 12.6. Solutions will be handed out to help you study.

Links/items you might find of use (will be regularly updated):

The very excellent online application to check out the Scale of the Universe.

Common series expansions. Also Taylor Series Expansion.

There is an option for "subscribing" to an electronic version of the textbook: check it out here. For those taking ASTR 2320 next year, I do not recommend this option.

Links to summer programs in astronomy research funded by the National Science Foundation.

The course syllabus in html.

The discussion/lab syllabus in docx.

Astronomy Picture of the Day is a great webpage to visit every day.