Astronomy and Space Science

PHY 208 Section 001

Spring 2017

Instructor: Mr. Raymond Zich

Office: 310 Moulton Hall

Office hours: MW 12:00 am — 1:00 pm pm or by appointment

Email: Please use only this email address to contact me.

Telephone: 438-7009

Class Meetings: MLT 309 MWF 2:00 — 2:50 pm

Lab Meetings: There will be required activities and observing sessions, but no formal labs - some activities will be done during class meetings or in the planetarium. Other activities will be done outdoors.

Texts: Astronomy Today 8th ed., Chaisson and McMillan, required

Learning Astronomy by Doing Astronomy, Palen and Larson, required

Astronomy Notes, Nick Strobel, online, required

Needed for class: TI-83 graphing calculator or equivalent, Mastering Astronomy, Turning Point Response Card (clicker)


This is a one semester introductory astronomy course with laboratory and observational activities. This course will cover the geometry of the sky, development of modern astronomy, the Solar System and planets, the Sun and stars, the galaxy, structure of the universe, and will expose students to the concepts and practices of physical science.
This course is designed to provide you with an active learning experience, with both in-class participation, activities, and observations based on the lecture topics. Your participation in lecture and through the activities plays a critical role in the course. Simple things like reading the text material before the lecture can help a lot.


There will be three 50-minute exams and a comprehensive final exam. No exam scores will be dropped, and you must take the final exam. The homework will be Web-based assignments that will be handled by Mastering Astronomy. No homework scores will be dropped. There will be clicker and worksheet Activities, on material from the textbook, lectures, and the LADA manual. These Activities will be unannounced. You may not submit an Activity late or make up a missed Activity. There will be an observing project. Astronomy is an observational science and observations will be critical to your appreciation and understanding of the field. You will need to keep an observing journal. You should download and read an Observing Journal Handout

Reading assignments can be found by clicking on the link for each topic name. When completing homework or any other assignment, quiz, or exam, show all work and steps unless otherwise indicated.
This class uses clickers. Bring your clicker to every class.
You must resister your clicker on ReggieNet individually for each class that you use clickers.
Clicker registration

Clicker instructions

Timely class attendance is essential in obtaining a good grade. Late work and missed quizzes or exams can not be made up. Missing two exams or the final is grounds for failing the course.

There will be no make-up of exams or quizzes without prior approval of the instructor.
Approval must be obtained before the date of the exam or quiz.


Three one-hour exams






Observing Project


Final Paper





90 % and above


80 - 89.9 %


70 - 79.9 %


60 - 69.9 %


below 60 %


Course Topics, Reading, and Hands-on Activities



Hands-on Activity

Jan 16 - 20

Sky Geometry, Astronomical Distances

Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton


Jan 23 - 27

Electromagnetic Radiation


Jan 30 - Feb 3

The Atom, Spectroscopy



Feb 6 - 10

The Solar System


Feb 13 - 17

Feb 15

Moon & Mercury


Exam 1


Feb 20 - 24




Feb 27 - Mar 3




Mar 6 - 10

Mar 8

Neptune, Dwarf Planets

Small Bodies

Exam 2


Mar 13 - 17

Spring Break


Mar 20 - 24

Planetary Systems

The Sun


Mar 27 - 31


Interstellar Medium


Apr 3 - 7

Star Formation

Stellar Evolution


Apr 10 - 14

Apr 11

Star Ends

Neutron Stars & Black Holes

Exam 3


Apr 17 - 21

Milky Way



Apr 24 - 28

Dark Matter



May 1 - 5

Early Universe





Mastering Astronomy login:

The best way to learn physics is by working problems and answering questions. To this end you will be asked to complete homework assignments which will be handled online by Mastering Astronomy. This is a Web-based system. You can do the work anytime and anywhere you have access to the Internet. Start your homework assignments early, as I am not responsible for computer or connectivity problems (slow access, or interruptions due to heavy use).
To sign up for and use Mastering Astronomy, go here and Register using the Course ID MAZICH34725
You must register using your ULID (the part of your university email address before the "@"). Your ULID is the way your grade will be transferred into Reggienet. Be sure to register for the correct section (Spring 2017).
Look for assignments on the Assignments Page. The due date for assignments will be shown next to the assignment.

Astronomy Sites:

These sites have tutorials on topics we cover in class, sky maps showing visible objects, and the latest news on topics in astronomy. They are supplements to, and not replacements for, the text.

Sky & Telescope magazine:

Astronomy Magazine:

Astronomy Picture of the Day:

General policies:

A working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is expected. If you're a little out of practice check out the University of Guelph site. A scientific calculator is required for this class. You are responsible for any material covered in class whether or not you are present. If you have questions or problems come see me during my office hours or other times you can find me. Homework is intended to reinforce the concepts presented in lecture, and you are expected to do the assinments. If you read the associated text material before the lecture, and attempt (not just read) the examples the homework will be much easier. If you have difficulty with understanding concepts or completing assignments come see me. You should expect to spend a minimum of two hours outside studying for each hour of lecture.
You are adults in a college setting. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Anyone found cheating will automatically receive a failing grade for the course.

Classroom behavior:

Regular attendance is part of the educational process and you are expected to attend all lectures and labs. If you are forced to miss due to an emergency I will try to help you figure out what you have missed, but you are responsible for material covered and announcements made even when you are absent.
Come to class ready to learn and participate. Cell phones, pagers, and ipods should be turned off before class starts. Food and beverages will not be allowed in the classroom. Children will not be allowed in the classroom. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated, and persons disturbing the learning environment will be asked to leave.

Tentative Class Schedule:

This is a tentative class schedule and significant deviations may occur as announced in class.