ASTR220 SYLLABUS

  • Friday Jan. 29 -- Introduction
    Course description and expectations
    Collisions within the solar system, our Galaxy, and the universe

  • Monday Feb. 1 -- Survey of the Universe
    Timescales and spacings
    Video: Powers of Ten (in class presentation)
    Scientific Method
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 1

  • Wednesday Feb. 3 -- Impact Craters on Earth
    Volcanic versus impact theories
    Tunguska event
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 2 & 3

  • Friday Feb. 5 -- Bombardment of the Solar System
    Observations and comparison of surfaces
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 4

  • Monday Feb. 8 -- Factors Affecting Surfaces
    Why planets and moons look so different

  • Wednesday Feb. 10 -- Nature of Projectiles - Comets
    Orbits, composition, collision potential
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 5 to page 70

  • Friday Feb. 12 -- Nature of Projectiles - Asteroids and Meteorites
    Orbits, composition, collision potential
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 5 from page 70
    HOMEWORK #1 due at beginning of class

  • Monday Feb. 15 -- Experiences with Collisions
    IN CLASS ACTIVITY (10 pts.) Making Craters

  • Wednesday Feb. 17 -- Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Collision with Jupiter
    Discovery and Observations

  • Friday Feb. 19 -- Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Collision with Jupiter
    What did we learn?

  • Monday Feb. 22 -- The Asteroid and the Dinosaur Theory
    Birth of a new theory
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 6

  • Wednesday Feb. 24 -- Impact Winter / Nuclear Winter
    What would it be like?
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 7 & 8

  • Friday Feb. 26 -- Periodic Mass Extinctions
    Nemesis, Kuiper Belt, Oort Cloud
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 10

  • Monday Mar. 1 -- Formation of the Earth's Moon
    Result of a collision???
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 11
    QUIZ #1 given in class

  • Wednesday Mar. 3 -- Other Theories Involving Major Solar System Collisions
    Mercury, Uranus, Miranda, Pluto
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 12 & 13

  • Friday Mar. 5 -- Do future collisions threaten our existence?
    Part I NOVA video (in class presentation)
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 19
    HOMEWORK #2 due at the beginning of class

  • Monday Mar. 8 -- Predicting and Preventing Collisions
    Part II NOVA video (continued)
    IN CLASS ACTIVITY (10 pts.) Group Discussion

  • Wednesday Mar. 10 -- So What Do We Do?
    Concluding ideas, Watch programs, Action programs

  • Friday Mar. 12 -- Discussion, Questions and Review

  • Monday Mar. 15 -- EXAM I


  • Wednesday Mar. 17 -- Physics of Light and Heat
    Electromagnetic spectrum
    Blackbody radiation
    Doppler shift

  • Friday Mar. 19 -- Properties of Stars
    Observations and theories

  • Monday Mar. 22 -- Spring Break!

  • Wednesday Mar. 24 -- Spring Break!

  • Friday Mar. 26 -- Spring Break!

  • Monday Mar. 29 -- Life of the Sun
    Evolution of a 1 solar mass star
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 17

  • Wednesday Mar. 31 -- Evolution of Massive Stars
    Supernovae
    Reading: Chapman & Morrison 18

  • Friday Apr. 2 -- Stellar Death
    White dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes
    QUIZ #2 given in class

  • Monday Apr. 5 -- Galactic Structure
    Survey of the Milky Way Galaxy
    Do stars collide?

  • Wednesday Apr. 7 -- Star Clusters
    Open and globular clusters
    View from within

  • Friday Apr. 9 -- Binary Stars
    Characteristics and types
    HOMEWORK #3 due at the beginning of class

  • Monday Apr. 12 -- Close Binaries
    Mass flows and novae
    Fascinating systems: Algol, Cygnus X-1, SS 433, ER Vulpeculae, models

  • Wednesday Apr. 14 -- Discussion, Questions and Review

  • Friday Apr. 16 -- EXAM II


  • Monday Apr. 19 -- External Galaxies
    Discovery and implications
    Reading: Parker 1 & 2

  • Wednesday Apr. 21 -- Peculiar Galaxies
    Attention getters!!!
    Reading: Parker 3 & 4

  • Friday Apr. 23 -- Quasars
    Discovery and models
    Reading: Parker 5 & 6

  • Monday Apr. 26 -- Active Galactic Nuclei
    Feeding a supermassive black hole

  • Wednesday Apr. 28 -- Does our Milky Way have a supermassive black hole lurking at its center?
    Observations and implications
    Reading: Parker 7
    QUIZ #3 given in class

  • Friday Apr. 30 -- Centaurus A and other Weird Beasties
    Examples of fascinating objects
    Reading: Parker 8

  • Monday May 3 -- Galactic Collisions
    Observations and theory
    Reading: Parker 9
    IN CLASS ACTIVITY (5 pts.) Galactic Collisions

  • Wednesday May 5 -- Galactic Mergers and Cannibalism
    Simulations of galaxy groups
    Effects of mergers on galactic evolution
    Reading: Parker 10 & 11
    HOMEWORK #4 due at the beginning of class

  • Friday May 7 -- Large Scale Structure
    Bubbles and Voids
    Reading: Parker 12 & 13 to page 266

  • Monday May 10 -- The Ultimate Collision--The Big Crunch?
    Possible fates of our universe
    Reading: Parker 13 & 14 from page 266

  • Wednesday May 12 -- Unanswered Questions
    Importance and nature of dark matter

  • Friday May 14 -- Discussion, Questions and Review


  • Tuesday May 18 -- FINAL EXAM
    Room: CSS 2400
    Time: 8:00 - 10:00 am


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    Last modified: Wednesday Apr 7 12:00:00 1999