FALL 2018

Line Number: 70447
School of Earth and Space Exploration:

INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY I: Discovering the Solar System

INSTRUCTOR: Regents Professor Sumner Starrfield, Ph.D.

                  OFFICE:                     PSH 452  (NOTE it is in the Physical Science H - wing not the F-wing where our classroom is located)

                  LECTURES:               Tu-Thu 10:30am to 11:45am IN ROOM PSF-166

                  OFFICE HOURS:     Tu-Thu 11:50 to - 12:30 IN PSF 452 (AND BY APPOINTMENT <-- PREFERRED) 

(THE                                         ( The DOOR WILL BE CLOSED-PLEASE KNOCK!)

                  TELEPHONE:             965-5081, 965-8950 (messages) OR 965-7569 (office)

                  CLASS E-MAIL:     (I answer E-MAIL but  put AST 111 in the Subject line)

                  TEXTBOOK:                Intro/Solar Systems Astronomy: Solar System Loose leaf  10th Edition, 2018 Seeds and Backman
                                    Publisher:     Cengage Learning     ISBN-13:  9780357000649 and   ISBN-10: 0357000641  (see below)

C           Class Web Page:

The links to the study guides and tests will be found here later in the semester: bookmark this page.

This Class is not on Blackboard and I do not use Powerpoint. If either of these bother you then please take another section.

 This course is an introductory survey of modern astronomy and our understanding of the Sun, Planets, and astronomical tools necessary to understand the properties of the Solar System. It is designed for both non-science and science students. The only pre-requisite is a knowledge of basic high school arithmetic and algebra. AST 111 and AST 112 are designed to be separate courses and it is possible to take one without the other so we will be using two different texts: one for each class. We will follow the textbook rather closely but outside reading is encouraged. Note that the text has many good discussion and review questions and you are encouraged to study them since I will use some of them for exam questions. In addition, articles and notes in Scientific American, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, ... often provide interesting and fruitful supplements to our text. They are available in the Noble Library. You will be responsible for all the assigned reading in the text, even if the material is not covered in class.         I will hand-out a set of math and science questions.      These questions are given to you to indicate if you have the skills necessary to work the problems given in class. If you cannot do many of the questions in this handout, I strongly suggest that you see me before continuing with the class. The answer key will be posted on a bulletin board on the first floor of Physical Sciences F wing. You will receive 3 exam points for turning it in with your name on it.

TEXTBOOK:    Our textbook is a one semester version of a two semester introduction to astronomy. The publisher: CENGAGE has begun a new service where you can obtain a subscription and use it for all materials for all your courses.  “The materials required for this course are included in Cengage Unlimited, a subscription service providing access to ALL Cengageebooks and digital learning products—over 22,000—for $119.99per term(extended subscriptions also available).OneCengage Unlimited subscription can be used across all courses where Cengage products are assigned, at no additional cost. You can purchase access to Cengage Unlimited in the bookstore, or at”  They have just started this in August 2018 so expect start-up problems. Check with the Bookstore.

HONORS CREDIT:   If you are in the Honors College, I encourage you to take this class for Honors Credit. I will expect additional work such as a term paper. You must see me if you are interested in doing this so we can agree on what will be necessary to obtain Honors Credit.

:    There will be three (3) one hour exams during the semester each worth 50 points (50 questions worth one point apiece). Absence from an exam will result in a score of zero. I drop the lowest score among the three one hour exams so that there will be no make-up exam. I cover material during the class that is not in the textbook. I will, therefore, examine you on material that is not in the textbook. If this concerns you, I remind you that there is an attendance requirement for all classes at ASU. I do not take roll and satisfy the requirement by this method.

  The final exam is a two (2) hour exam and will be given on Tuesday December 4, 2018 from 9:50am to 11:40am in PSF-166 (this classroom). Everyone must take the final or you will Fail the course. Do NOT make airline reservations for any time before our final exam - there will be no early finals. The final exam is comprehensive and covers the entire course; it will be worth a total of 100 points.   All my exams are machine scored, multiple choice and are open notes only. You must bring a picture ID to each exam and be prepared to show it upon demand. Neither cell phones, tablets, the TEXTBOOK, nor laptops will be allowed during any of the exams. I will hand out a review sheet before each exam outlining the material that I think is particularly important. However, you are responsible for coming to class and reading the textbook. The review sheet is not a substitute for either of these.

HOMEWORK:   From time to time during the semester, I will hand out one or two page sheets with questions that require short answers. Each sheet will be worth 3 Exam points and I expect to hand out more than 10 of these. I will use some of the questions on these sheets as questions on the exams. They will be due the next class period and the questions must be answered on the sheets that I have handed out.  No copies and no late sheets will be accepted. These are a required part of the course and you must do at least 2 or 3 to pass this course. They are not extra credit - I add in the homework points before making up the final grade.

FINAL GRADE    I will make up the grades by totaling the number of exam plus exercise points accumulated during the semester. I will construct a curve based on the person with the largest number of points. I cannot tell how many points will be necessary for a particular letter grade but would guess that about 180 are necessary for an A, about 150 for a B, and about 120 for a C. These numbers are only approximate.

COMMON COURTESY:  (1) Show up on time. (2) Please do not leave class early and rustle papers in preparation for leaving before class is dismissed.If you need to leave early, sit near an exit. (3) Stay awake - putting your head down on the desk and going to sleep is very distracting. (4) Don't read newspapers or surf the web or answer email with your laptop. I can tell when you are doing this by the laughter of the people behind you.  (5) Don't cheat off your neighbors exam sheet there is an honors code at ASU.

(6) Turn off your Cell Phones and Pagers!

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity
Academic honesty is expected of all students in all examinations, papers, laboratory work, academic transactions and records. The possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, appropriate grade penalties, course failure (indicated on the transcript as a grade of E), course failure due to academic dishonesty (indicated on the transcript as a grade of XE), loss of registration privileges, disqualification and dismissal. For more information, see Additionally, required behavior standards are listed in the Student Code of Conduct and Student Disciplinary Procedures, Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications policy, and outlined by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Anyone in violation of these policies is subject to sanctions.  Students are entitled to receive instruction free from interference by other members of the class.  An instructor may withdraw a student from the course when the student's behavior disrupts the educational process per Instructor Withdrawal of a Student for Disruptive Classroom Behavior.   Appropriate online behavior (also known as netiquette) is defined by the instructor and includes keeping course discussion posts focused on the assigned topics. Students must maintain a cordial atmosphere and use tact in expressing differences of opinion. Inappropriate discussion board posts may be deleted by the instructor.  The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities accepts incident reports from students, faculty, staff, or other persons who believe that a student or a student organization may have violated the Student Code of Conduct.
Copyright Information
All the content in this course, including lectures, are copyrighted materials. Students may not share outside the class, upload, sell or distribute course content or notes taken during the conduct of the course (see ACD 304-06). Students may not upload to any course shell, discussion board or website used by the course instructor or other course forum, material that is not the student’s original work, unless the student first complies with all applicable copyright laws. The instructor reserves the right to delete materials on the grounds of suspected copyright infringement (see ACD 304-10).
Prohibition of Commercial Note Taking Services
In accordance with ACD 304-06 Commercial Note Taking Services, written permission must be secured from the official instructor of the class in order to sell the instructor's oral communication in the form of notes. Notes must have the notetaker's name as well as the instructor's name, the course number, and the date. (These statements included at the request of Provost Searle) 

Notices from ASU Administration

ASTRONOMY Picture of the day:

Schedule of Chapters (rough order - subject to change by announcement in class):

Week                 Chapters                                        Subject Matter

1                      Appendix A and 1               Units, Astronomical Data and the Scale of the Cosmos

2                      2                                      The Night Sky

3                      3 and 4                              Cycles of the Moon and Origin of Modern Astronomy

4                      5                                      Newton and Gravity

5                      6                                      Light and Telescopes

6                      7                                      Starlight and Atoms

7                      8                                      The Sun as a Star

8                      9 and 10                            Origins: Perspective and Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets

9                      11                                     The Earth: The Active Planet and Global Warming

10                     12                                     The Moon and Mercury

11                     13                                     Venus and Mars

12                     14                                     Jupiter and Saturn

13                     15                                     Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Sedna, ...

14                     16                                     Meteorites, Asteroids, Comets

15                     17                                     Life on Other Worlds (maybe)


The most important questions in science

The Major Topics for AST 111

The Learning Outcomes for AST 111