Welcome to the main page of AST205, "Planets in the
Excerpt from our syllabus:
This is an introductory course in astronomy focusing on planets in our
Solar System, and around other stars (exoplanets). The course starts
with reviewing the formation, evolution and characterization of the
Solar system, including the Sun. Following an introduction to stars,
the course will then discuss the exciting new field of exoplanets;
discovery methods, basic properties, earth-like planets, and
extraterrestrial life. Core values of the course are quantitative
analysis and hands-on experience, including telescopic observations.
This STN course is designed for the non-science major and has no
prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry.
Note that we also keep certain materials on blackboard, such as those
related to logistics, grading, group work, and blogging.
Based on the extensive feedback from 2012 and 2013, we implemented some
changes for the 2014 fall course. These will be in effect for the 2015
fall course. These definitely improved the course, and
made it even more fun.
Students will form observing groups. You can now select your
group members . A group can have 5 people at most. Don't
worry if you don't find group-mates; "worst case" you will be
assigned to a group at the start of the semester, based on
your availability (as in past years).
Homeworks will be simplified with respect to the 2013 fall
course. We will have more assignments, spread out during the
year, all simpler than in past years.
We will have some sessions/office hours devoted to solving
Will have a review session on photography and visual
observing of celestial phenomena.
We will have one or two observing assistants helping out
the groups in their photo and observing activities.
Participation on at least one star party (other than the
start-of-the-year party) is compulsory.
We are now more explicit about P/D/F requirements. Without
participation (even if at a minimal level) in all three of the
group activities, i.e. visual observing, photography, and
reading journals, one can not pass the course. If you do not
want to do any astronomy (especially the part which is the
most fun), why take this course?
Mid-term exam will be shorter than in past years.
Final exam will be shorter than in past years.
Much more on-line material will be available on how to use our
equipment, such as the cameras and telescopes.