ASTRO 128 The Universe for Beginners Sect 5016 Spring 2012 Printable Version
Diablo Valley College Instructor: Karen Castle
Office (925) -685-1230 ext. 2832 Cell 925-209-6317 (yes! Use it, but no texts please)
Astronomy 128 is a 4 unit general education course which fulfills the physical science general education requirement AND required laboratory for UC, CSU and IGETC.
This course helps you develop an overview of the Universe, its appearance, its constituents and how we learn about it. You will make observations and do experiments independently and then document the results.
Use the links in this syllabus to navigate within the document and to access the assignments.
The schedule below identifies the material to study, assignments and due dates.
There are 3 proctored tests at DVC plus 6 online quizzes, 8 written homework assignments,
8 laboratory experiments and 3 observing projects. Spend AT LEAST 12 hours per week .
Math 110, or first year high school algebra, or equivalent. You need to use algebra and your scientific calculator. Be certain that you are caught up.
Eligibility for English 122 (Freshman English) is recommended (placement test or completion of English 116 and 118). This class involves reading comprehension and the ability to write grammatical English.
Organizational Meeting, Required Monday Jan 23, 2011, 7-9 PM, SC 601
If you miss this meeting, and do not get in contact, you may be dropped.
There are Monday night study sessions at DVC in SC 601 every night except test nights.
TESTS There are three tests to be taken in person at DVC in Room PS110 or with a preapproved proctor.
Come to ONE sitting for each test. Tests start promptly.
Bring a calculator and identification. The Map on your WebCT homepage shows these locations.
In-Person Help, Camaraderie , Office Hours
There is as much help as you want, on the phone, in person, or via email. The cell phone is the fastest and most efficient. Leave a message if there is no answer. Office hours are always available. Other times can be arranged, but YOU need to ask and make time. If you leave a cell phone or email message, I will try to respond within 36 hours.
Monday Nights when there is no test there is an OPTIONAL class/help session in SC 601 (Science Center) starting 7 PM. The topic is shown in the schedule. There is also an office hour at 5:30 on Mondays in SC 313.
Tutoring SC 701 Hours will be posted. No phone, alas.
Office Hours in SC 313 Phone Cell 925-209-6317 (better) 925-685-1230x2832
Monday 5:30 -6:45 PM THEN 7-9 SC 601 for A 128 help/lecture or test PS110
(see schedule for topics)
Tuesday 3:30-5 PM
Wednesday 3:30-4:45 PM
Thursday 9:30-10:45 AM
Other times by appointment. Or email ANY time, preferably from Inside WebCT.
DO come or phone for help. It IS acceptable to ask to have work checked and returned before the day it is due.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: The student will be able to
1. summarize major components of knowledge of the constituents of the Universe.
2. use mathematics and graphical material to reach quantitative and qualitative conclusions.
3. observe selected celestial phenomena.
Pathways to Astronomy 3rd edition, Stephen E. Schneider, Thomas T. Arny, McGraw Hill, required. Be sure to get the version with 86 units. You do not need the ARIS password. You may rent access or rent the text (http://www.coursesmart.com/search) rather than purchase it. The 2nd edition, is all right, but it is numbered differently (See the voyager2 link above for a unit to unit correspondence.)
Laboratory materials: Write ups, homework assignments, etc. are reached via the links below.
Each lab experiment and observing project descriptions list the materials needed. You will need a scientific calculator, camera (digital preferred, cell phone ok), lamp, diffraction grating (provided by instructor), small ball, protractor, ruler or tape measure, cardboard, crayons or colored pencils, tape. Some observing projects use telescopes or binoculars, but you can choose projects that require neither.
We use WebCT for quizzes, discussion, and announcements. The password is real quiz for the real ones and there is no password for the practice versions.
Computer- You need a computer and a printer. Your software should include email, Internet access and a browser, a word processor, a spreadsheet program, Acrobat Reader, Flash Player and QuickTime. All are free.
Evening Observing: Students (and well-behaved friends) wishing to participate in evening observing sessions at DVC are encouraged to do so. The Observatory is located between SC 313 and SC 601. It is the highest point on the campus. Observing sessions are planned for
Friday, Feb 3, 2011 starting 6:30 PM
Friday, Feb 10, 2011 starting 6:30 PM, weather permitting
Dress casually, in layers for OUTDOOR weather. You MAY use an observing evening for the Star Party observing project (but be sure to read the instructions and do the required drawings).
Points and Tasks Required The maximum number of points for each component is:
To pass, you MUST earn at least 120 laboratory points. AND
Grades You need the following totals
At Least 640 points for an A (~80%)
At least 560 points, but fewer than 640 for a B (~70%)
At least 480 points, but fewer than 560 for a C (~60%)
At least 400 points, but fewer than 480 for a D (~50%)
Less than 400 points or less than 120 lab points F
WEBCT shows your scores. Quizzes and tests are graded automatically. Just save the answers then submit for grading (BEFORE you leave the quiz or test). Practice quiz scores show up, but do not add to the point total. You can see your answers and the correct answers from the “quiz and test” link in WebCT. I enter grades for other assignments by hand. Let me know if the grades do not show up after a while. There is a plot available on the WEBCT home page showing how many points you need to be on track for various grades.
"Turned in" means emailed from your location or US mailed and postmarked by the due date and time, or brought to DVC. You may turn in things early. I have no fax. Keep a copy for yourself in case of loss.
Email Email within WEBCT is the BEST way is to turn in assignments. Attach your work as a typed, scanned or picture file. I will let you know if there is a problem opening it. I try to comment within the work and return it.
US Mail: Assignments can be mailed to K.G. Castle, Diablo Valley College 321 Golf Club Drive, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. I look at the postmark, not the arrival date. Be sure it arrives before the end of the semester. DVC mail takes several days longer than the post office.
At DVC or other Contra Costa Community College Locations(LMC, CCC, SRVC)
You may bring assignments to any meeting or test or deliver it to any of the following.
a) Locked mailbox outside Science Center 313, building open ~ 8AM to 10 PM M-F
b) Castle’s mail slot in the Physical Science Division Office, PS 263,
Open roughly 7 AM- 4 PM, (but often closed if the secretary is away)
c) Interoffice mail from DVC’s Administration Building or other colleges (SRVC, CCC etc).
Open roughly 7:30 AM -7 PM, M-Th and til 5PM on Friday or interoffice mail from any of the other
Your homework and lab work is geared to HELP you do well on the tests and quizzes. So do finish it before the test or quiz. Use the practice quizzes to ensure success and to see what might be asked.
Quizzes have a firm deadline, normally on a Tuesday at 11:55 PM. Homework and
If you are late, you will be penalized. NO papers will be accepted after the final.
Tests and quizzes will not normally be available late. The grades on practice quizzes do NOT affect your grade. WebCT denies entry after the deadline.
Assignments submitted online will be graded and comments will be returned by email. Work submitted in paper will be handed back at meetings, tests or when you drop by. Comments will be emailed back or written on your work. Look at your grades on WEBCT to verify that things have been graded and DO alert me if it has been a while and no grade has appeared.
† For these assignments, there will be a separate data assignment for each person. Use the quiz labeled
Assignments for Lab 7, HW 5, and Lab 8 to get your personal assignments
You can find quizzes, and practice for tests and quizzes on the WEBCT site. You may take the practice versions as many times as you like.
No password needed. The scores do not count toward your grade, but practice correlates strongly with quiz and test grades.
The password for actual quizzes is real quiz. After you take a quiz, submit it for grading and WebCT will show your score and the correct answers question by question.
Take real quizzes ONE time ONLY. They are CLOSED BOOK, NO NOTES, limited time. You may use a calculator or spreadsheet.
If, somehow, the computer program lets you take the quiz more than once, I consider it to be CHEATING to do so. If you have, in the past,
been given extra time on tests etc. or if you cannot complete the practice quizzes in the time allotted, please get in touch with me ahead of time.
Follow the links to write ups for the observing projects Email your choices to me by Feb 4.
Spring 2012 Mars and Venus are visible this semester. Mars rises about 10 PM early in the semester,and then ever earlier. Venus is up at sunset. Use a special map to plot the planet positions. You need to plot one planet, not both.
If you have an idea for a different observing project, consult with the instructor to establish whether it will be acceptable and how it should be structured. At most, one such project will be approved for each student.
See Laboratory Information below for information about how to write a laboratory report, what to do for the objective and conclusion and cut outs for how to build the some of the laboratory equipment.
At DVC nighttime weather is usually good from about mid March through the summer to the end of October, and not reliable from October through March. Plan accordingly and start observations in time to catch good weather. If you want to attend a star party, be sure to have at least one back-up date.
Diablo Valley College has an honor code. It is documented in the college catalog.
If the instructor finds that a student has cheated on any assignment, she will have the option of NOT ACCEPTING that work for credit.
Another assignment, possibly more difficult, might be allowed to substitute for the rejected work. If work is NOT ACCEPTED based on
perceived cheating, the consequences will be whatever normally occurs if the student got zero on that assignment. (This may result in failure for the class).
Guidelines (If you have questions about what is acceptable, please ask first.)
Each person must turn in her/his own separate paper. Answers that involve summaries in paragraph form must be in your own words.
I expect that no two person’s responses will be identical.
It is CHEATING to copy the work of another.
It is ACCEPTABLE to work to together on homework, so long as everyone contributes.
It is CHEATING to use references or notes for quizzes or tests (unless otherwise specified).
It is CHEATING to take a quiz or test more than one time for credit, even if the software does not prevent it.
It is CHEATING to have another person (or machine) take a test or a quiz or to attend a required instructor meeting for you.
It is CHEATING to alter the date on a paper to make it appear to be turned in on time, when that has not actually occurred.
When using reference materials, such as books or the Internet, it is ACCEPTABLE and EXPECTED that you will use the facts and theories they contain.
But it is CHEATING to copy long phrases, sentences or paragraphs verbatim (word for word). It is not customary to use direct quotations from a book or the web in scientific work. The opinion of the scientific writer is not usually of interest.
When you use information, like number values, provided by another, note the source in a footnote or in parentheses. You should have a list of references at the end of the work, giving full information on where to find the information. To the best of your ability, use your own words to express what you want to say, even when explaining another person's work. Quotations (with quotation marks etc.) are used only in the rare event that you are dealing with a specific phrase from another person’s work, or possibly when the other person's opinion is the issue.
Observing projects and laboratory exercises are designed for you to make your own observations and work with data. Part of the learning is in seeing how it all works and how hard it is to get data and information. Perfection is not expected or required. In some cases, the point is to show the limits of the method (where it doesn't work well).
It is CHEATING to use anyone else's data (except for group activities where you work together or where the question requests a consultation), to copy data from the Internet or old reports, or to falsify data, improve etc. observations. It is ACCEPTABLE to discuss or compare results. It is ACCEPTABLE to decide that your results are incorrect, redo the experiment or explain in the write up what happened (there might still be some points taken off). When I grade your work, I look for each step to follow logically from the previous one, regardless of whether the previous step was correct.