Astronomy 161: Syllabus

Astronomy 161 Home Page

Fall Quarter 2008

Instructor:  Anthony L. Shoup

Saturn, as Imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope
(click on image to go to more info about image)

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General Information

Course Objectives

Class Policies


General Information

Instructor: Anthony L. Shoup
Office: rm 315 Science Bldg.
Phone: (419) 995-8018

Lecture Times: Mon, Tues, Thurs  2:30-4:00 pm
Lecture Place: Room 312 Science Building
Office Hours: Mon, Thurs & Fri 1:00-2:00pm, Tues 9-10am, or by appointment

Prerequisites:  Math 075 or 076 or 102, or Math Placement Level R

Text: Universe, by Freedman & Kaufmann, 8th ed, Freeman Publisher.  They have a nice free website to go with the book. Please make use of it. Also there is a free version of Starry Night Backyard which is a nice planetarium program which shows you the positions of celestial objects at any given date/time.


Course Goals/Objectives

Astronomy 161 is a Physical Science course in the Natural Science category of the GEC. The goals and objectives for the Natural Science category are:


Courses in natural sciences foster an understanding of the principles, theories and methods of modern science, the relationship between science and technology and the effects of science and technology on the environment.

Learning Objectives:

1. Students understand the basic facts, principles, theories and methods of modern science.
2. Students learn key events in the history of science.
3. Students provide examples of the inter-dependence of scientific and technological developments.
4. Students discuss social and philosophical implications of scientific discoveries and understand the potential of science and technology to address problems of the contemporary world.

The goals specific to Astronomy 161, Introduction to Solar System Astronomy are to explore the physical nature of the sun and its family of planets, satellites, comets and minor bodies. We will also discuss motion, gravitation, and light, as they either apply to our solar system, or how we use them to explore our universe. We will do many demonstrations,  hands-on activities, and computer based activities which will help you understand our solar system and the physical laws that govern it. Hopefully, by the end of the course you will have a greater appreciation for our local "neighborhood" and our place in it.

Class Policies

All policies outlined in the "Academic Guidelines for Students", posted on Ohio State Lima's homepage ( apply to Astronomy 161.

Getting help: Whenever you have a problem with the topics covered in class, please see me. It can save you a lot of trouble later on if you get help early. You will need everything discussed early on in the class to understand the material covered in later chapters, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

Calculator: A scientific calculator is provided for students during class. No other calculators may be used during exams.  In this way, no student will have an unfair advantage.  I encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the provided calculators.

Written Assignments: Please refer to the class schedule.  You will get homework assignments each week. You will submit the homework using a web-based homework service, WebAssign. For more information on this, click here.


Your grade will be determined by your scores on the two midterms (100 points each), the comprehensive final exam (200 points), in-class activities (100 points:  5 activities, 20 points each), and homework (100 points: 9 assignments, 10 points each and one observing session summary, 10 points).



Midterm I


Midterm II


Final Exam


In-class Activities




Total Points


Attendance is REQUIRED to receive credit for the in-class assignments!

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