ASTR121 Spring 2014

Lab & Discussion Syllabus

Teaching Assistant: Marie Bernard (e-mail me!)

Office Hours: Monday 4-5pm & Friday 12-1pm in CSS1250

    Lab will be held every Monday at either 11am or 2pm, depending on your section. We will meet in CSS1220 (the computer lab) unless otherwise stated. Labs are 2 hours long and should be completed in the allotted time, meaning you can't take the lab home and have the Matlab whiz exchange student down the hall finish it for you.
    Discussion Section meets every Friday at 1pm in CSS2428 and will include a graded activity, so attendance is mandatory if you don't want a zero. Speaking of...

    ATTENDANCE: You are all, as far as I know, real functioning adult humans who can make their own decisions. Please do not make the wrong one by not coming to class. You/your mom/the government is paying an uncomfortable amount of money to take these 4 credits, so enjoy them! Space is bitchin'!
    If you MUST miss a Lab or Discussion, you are allowed ONE "excused" absence, no questions asked, where you will have the opportunity to make up the work that you missed and avoid a zero. Dumb things like missing the bus, sleeping through your alarm, or a violent hangover are great reasons to use this excused absence--but remember, you only have one! So save it for when you really need it!
    However, if you were sick AND have a note, or if there was an emergency (e.g. a death in the family) and you have proof, etc...those situations won't count against you and you'll still have the one excused absence to use for a future mishap.
    PLEASE NOTE that this excused absence can only be used if you e-mail me or Prof. Hamilton within 48 hours of the missed class in question. So just because you stayed out too late on a Thirsty Thursday in February & missed discussion the following Friday TOTALLY DOES NOT mean you can come to me in May and retroactively use the excused absence for that day, since you had no other need for it in the semester. Sorry!

    LATE POLICY: Homeworks are due on Thursday in class, and are late once lecture ends. They are graded and then returned the next day, Friday, in discussion, along with the solutions. Because of this, late homeworks are NOT accepted after they are returned in discussion.


Lab Number/Topic
Feb. 3 NO LAB We'll let you recover from the Superbowl...
Feb. 10 Lab #1: Intro to Matlab Basic exercises to familiarize you with Matlab commands
Feb. 17 Lab #2: Parallax Measuring distances with the parallax method, along an intro to error analysis
Feb. 24 Lab #3: Binary Stars & Stellar Masses Using spectroscopy to determine the masses of binary stars
Mar. 3 EXAM 1 REVIEW Instead of a lab, we will have a review for the first exam, scheduled for Thursday, March 6
Mar. 10 Lab #4: Blackbody & Stellar Spectra Exploring the important ways in which a star's spectrum gives us information about its temperature
Mar. 17 NO LAB Spring Break
Mar. 26 NO LAB We'll let you recover from Spring Break...
Mar. 31 Lab #5: Cluster H-R Diagrams You will create H-R diagrams for two clusters, then gather information about them from these diagrams
Apr. 7 Lab #6: Shape & Scale of the Milky Way Using star clusters to determine the physical charactheristics of our galaxy; You'll also learn how to plot in 3D on Matlab
Apr. 14 EXAM 2 REVIEW Instead of a lab, we will have a review for the second exam, scheduled for Thursday, April 17
Apr. 21 Lab #7: Rotation curve of the Milky Way Constructing a rotation curve based on neutral Hydrogen clouds inside our galaxy
Apr. 28 Lab #8: Hubble's Law Using galaxy redshifts and Hubble's law to ultimately determine the age of the universe
May 5 Lab #9: Galaxy Morphology Exploring the different galaxy shapes
May 12 Lab #10: Superluminal Motion of Quasar Jets Besides measuring this motion, you will also learn how to write and use .m files in Matlab