GO130 Astronomy

for S1F 2007

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GO 130 Astronomy


S1F 2007 HE


Espinal, Jack L.


Adjunct Faculty


Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Master of Science in Management

Office Location

Fort Myer, Virginia

Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone

703 607 7864

Other Phone

703 534 7484




Web Page


Semester Dates

8 January – 11March 2007

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 10:00 PM



Credit Hours



Zeilik, Michael. (2001).  Astronomy: The Evolving Universe Ninth Edition.  Cambridge University Press.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Moche, Dinah L.  Astronomy: A Self Teaching Guide. John Wiley and Sons.
Sagan, Carl. Billions and Billions.  Random House
Sagan, Carl. Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection. Cambridge University Press.
Consolmagno, Guy and Davis, Dan M. Turn Left at Orion.  Cambridge University Press
Davis, Kenneth C.  Don't Know Much about the Universe.  Harper Collins.

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Course Description:
( GO 130) This course will study the complexities of the universe.  It will examine the physical, chemical and meteorological, and geological aspects of the universe, including planets, suns, asteroids, and nebulas.  3:3:4.

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy based on student interactions using discussions, readings, lab experiments, observations, quizzes, examinations, video, internet-mail exchange and writings.  The instructor will engage each learner in the lively exploration of Astronomy and the scientific method, discussions of readings, oral reports/presentations; field trips; videos, and other media that may be deemed appropriate and available.  Collaborative learning techniques will be used to analyze and solve problems in small groups. This course presents basic principles of Astronomy. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Define and predict celestial phenomena.
  2. Compute orbits of planets and stars and sizes of black holes.
  3. Calculate possible atmospheres around planets and structures and compositions of stars, planets and nebula.
  4. Apply the scientific method to various ideas on space to show how ideas are tested and verified.

Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:






Notes:   Quizzes and Video Viewing Guides are given only during class.  There are no make-ups permitted if you miss   them in class.  




Only   five of the six quizzes of your choice will count toward the course grade.




Students   must have at least a passing grade for each of the above areas to receive a   passing grade for the course.




Research Project   Presentations must be made on the date scheduled to receive full credit


Lab Exercises




Reading & Problem   Sets




Quizzes (6 count 5)




Video Viewing Guides   (Collaborative)




Research Project /   Presentation




Smithsonian Field Trip   & Presentation




Midterm Examination




Final Examination


























Below 60 or 3   un-excused absences





Late Submission of Course Materials:

If an assignment is due on a night that the student is not present, it is the student's responsibility to get the assignment to the instructor on the due date. Assignments will not be accepted after three dates of the due date without prior approval from the instructor.  Video Tapes and DVDs show in class cannot be made-up.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Class attendance is important.  Class participation is expected and will form a part of the final grade. Students are expected to come to all classes and be on time. Roll will be checked each class meeting. Classes missed for legitimate reasons, such as illness, temporary duty, are excusable; however, the student must make up the missed work by completing class exercise sheets and attending alternate activities. See the course web page for details. (a partial failing grade for class participation will be assessed for late chapter assignments or un-excused absences).  Quizzes, announced or unannounced cannot be made-up.  Videotapes shown in class and associated written class work cannot be made up.  The course web page - - contains electronic copies of many of the exercises and practice sets used in class.  Browse the page to see what is there.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:






Prepare for Class    Session Topic





January 11, 2007


Astronomy, Chapters 1,  2 & 3


Ch1  2, 3, 6, 8  Ch2 10-12  Ch3 1, 6, 9, 10


Historical Astronomy  Naked Eye Observation


Stick In Ground Ex





January 18, 2007


Astronomy, Chapters 4  & 5


Ch4  1, 5, 10, 15  Ch5 3, 5, 10, 12,  14  


Clockwork Universe  Astrophysics and Telescopes


Moon Observation Ex  Quiz



January 25, 2007




Chapter 6 & 7


Ch6 3, 5 ,8, 9 Ch7  1, 2, 6  


Telescopes & the  Cosmos, Einstein's Relativity






February 01, 2007




Chapter 8 & 9


Ch8 2, 4, 9  Ch9  1-4, 6


Terrestrial Planets





February 08, 2007




Chapter 10 & 11


Ch10   1, 2, 4  Ch11 1-2


Jovian Planets and Evolution  of the Solar System


Mid Term



February 15, 2007




Chapter 12 & 13


Ch12  3, 4, 9   Ch13 1, 3, 10


The Sun and the Stars




February 22, 2007




Chapter 14 & 15


Ch14  2, 10, 14  Ch15 1, 4, 6, 8  


The lives of the Stars






February 24, 2007



Smithsonian Field Trip


(No class on Thursday 09 March 2007)





March 01, 2007




Chapter 16 & 17


Ch16  1, 4-6  Ch17 1, 7, 12, 14


Star Death and Galaxies


Final Examination


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:

Session One - Central

The motions of astronomical objects you can see by eye
follow distinctive patterns and cycles in the sky over both short and long
periods of time. These repeated motions suggest an underlying design to the

Scientific models of the cosmos can explain and predict
the motions of celestial bodies, especially those of the planets. Early models
of the cosmos were centered on the earth.

A heliocentric model of the cosmos was reinvented
during the 16th century in Europe, but this
break with the geocentric tradition required new physical laws and a revolution
of the cosmological views of the time.

Session One - Learning

1.     Describe the seasonal
positions of the sun—at sunrise, noon,
and sunset—relative to the horizon from a mid-northern or mid-southern

2.     Describe the motions of the
sun and the moon, as seen from the earth, relative to the stars of the zodiac.

3.     Describe the motions of the
planets, as seen from the earth, relative to the sun and the stars of the
zodiac, with special attention to retrograde motions.

4.     Describe the astronomical
conditions necessary for the occurrence of a total solar eclipse and a total
lunar eclipse.

5.     Argue, from naked eye
observations and simple geometry, an order of the sun, moon, and planets from
the earth.

6.     Make use of angular measure to
find positions of celestial objects relative to the horizon and relative to one

7.     Describe and explain the
essential aspects of a scientific model.

8.     Evaluate the essential assets
of Ptolemy's geocentric model that led to its wide, long-term acceptance; as
part of this appraisal, be able to construct a simplified version of the model.

9.     List the assumptions and
arguments that Copernicus used to support his model and refute the Ptolemaic

10.  Explain why Copernicus
disliked Ptolemy's use of non-uniform motion and how this bias influenced the
development of his heliocentric model.

11.  Describe how Copernican ideas
influenced the astronomical work of Kepler.

12.  Describe the important
geometric properties of ellipses and apply these to planetary orbits.

13.  Compare and contrast the
Copernican model and the Keplerian one in terms of physics, simplicity,
geometry, and prediction.

 State Kepler's three laws of
planetary motion and apply them to appropriate astronomical situations.

Two - Central Concepts

Newton's laws of motion and gravitation explain, predict, and
unify the motions of the bodies in the solar system. These laws are universal
and apply to objects outside of the solar system.

Matter produces
light, and this light carries physical information about the sun, stars, and
other celestial objects that emit it. Light comes in discrete units that are
emitted and absorbed by atoms.

Telescopes extend
our perception of the cosmos by revealing faint objects and a wide range of the
electromagnetic spectrum. New observations impel the development of new models
and often the demise of old ones.

Two - Learning Outcomes

Describe Galileo's
important telescopic discoveries and their impact on the controversy over the
Copernican and Ptolemaic models.

Describe the
difference between speed and velocity and between accelerated and unaccelerated
motion, giving everyday and astronomical examples.

Cite Newton's three laws of
motion, describe each in simple terms, provide concrete examples, and apply
them to astronomical and everyday cases.

Contrast Newton's concept of natural
motion to that of Aristotle, especially with regard to celestial motions.

Describe Newton's Law of
Gravitation in simple physical terms, and apply this law to the concept of

Define and
describe the concept of centripetal force and acceleration, and use it in the
moon - apple test to support Newton's
Law of Gravitation.

Contrast Newton's astronomy and
cosmology with those of Copernicus and Kepler.

Describe the
differences in the appearance of continuous, absorption, and emission spectra
as seen through a spectroscope.

Use Kirchhoff's
rules to relate the three basic spectral types to the physical conditions of
their production.

Briefly describe
the electromagnetic spectrum with examples from each major region.

Use the energy
level diagram of a hydrogen atom to explain how the Balmer series is produced,
both as emission and absorption lines.

Describe the
concept of the conservation of energy and apply it to ordinary and
astrophysical situations.

Describe, sketch,
and explain the three major types of spectra in graphical form.

Outline the main
functions of a telescope (light gathering power, resolution, and magnifying
power); relate each to specific optical properties of a telescope's design and
sketch those relationships in graphical form.

Compare and
contrast a telescope's light gathering power, resolution, and magnifying power,
and discuss the limitations of ground-based telescopes.

Compare and
contrast reflecting and refracting telescopes; include a sketch of the optical
layout of each in your comparison.

Compare a radio
telescope to an optical telescope in terms of functions, design, and use.

Describe what is
meant by the term “invisible astronomy.”

Contrast an
infrared telescope to an optical telescope in terms of functions, design, and

Discuss at least
two important advantages a space telescope in earth orbit has over a
ground-based telescope, and the even greater advantages of telescopes on the

Three - Central Concepts

The general theory
of relativity views space and time as unified in four dimensions. The new view
of gravity—radically different from that of Newton's—predicts an expanding universe that
may be finite or infinite in space-time.

The dynamic earth
is a highly evolved planet, built over thousands of millions of years by
geologic processes that are driven by the slow outflow of internal heat. It
serves as the model for understanding other planets.

Three - Learning Outcomes

State the
principle of equivalence and illustrate it with a concrete example.

Show how the
principle of equivalence leads to the local cancellation of gravitational
forces and weightlessness.

Compare and
contrast Aristotle's, Newton's,
and Einstein's concepts of natural motion for bodies falling near the earth and
of the motions of heavenly bodies.

Describe what is
meant by the term space-time and give a common example.

Argue that
concepts of natural motion must be coupled to a notion of the geometry of
space-time, both locally and for the cosmos globally.

Sketch the
interior structure of the earth, indicating the composition of each general
region, and argue that the earth's interior structure implies that it must have
been molten at one time.

Argue from at
least two observations that the earth's core probably has a metallic

Outline a possible
model for the evolution of the earth's oceans that ties in with a broader view
of the earth's history.

Four - Central Concepts

The evolutions of
the moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus have been driven by processes similar to
those that have created the earth, but have not operated as long or as

Four - Learning Outcomes

Compare the moon,
Mercury, Mars, Venus, and the earth in terms of their general surface and
physical properties (such as mass and density), with a special focus on how we
know this information.

Describe each
planet's major surface features and indicate a possible formation process for
these features.

Compare and
contrast the surface environments (such as temperature, atmosphere, surface
features, escape speed) of the terrestrial planets.

Sketch a model for
the structure of the interior of each terrestrial planet and compare them.

Describe the
process of cratering of planetary surfaces and tell how craters can be used to
infer the relative ages of surfaces.

Use Newton's law of
gravitation to explain the nature of tidal forces, and apply tidal forces to
astrophysical situations.

Five - Central Concepts

The Jovian
planets, compared to the terrestrial ones, have greater masses and sizes but
lower densities. Today they pretty much resemble their early states because
they preserve little of the history of their evolution.

Five - Learning Outcomes

Compare and
contrast the Jovian planets as a group to the terrestrial planets, emphasizing
the greatest differences.

Contrast the
Jovian planets to one another in terms of their relative sizes, relative
masses, bulk densities, atmospheric compositions, internal structures, and
unique features.

Compare the rings
of Saturn with those of Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter in terms of size, shape,
and possible composition.

Compare and
contrast the general characteristics, surface features, and evolution of the
Galilean satellites of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Six - Central Concepts

The planets formed
from an interstellar cloud of gas and dust as a natural outgrowth to the
formation of the sun. They then evolved by common processes into the planets of

The sun produces
its life-giving energy by nuclear fusion reactions transforming hydrogen to
helium in its hot core. The outward flow of this energy determines the sun's
physical structure.

Six - Learning Outcomes

Describe and
compare the general physical properties of comets, asteroids, meteoroids, and
meteorites, and state what the radioactive dating of meteorites implies for the
dating of the formation of the solar system.

Specify what clues
asteroids, comets, and meteorites provide about the formation of the solar
system, with special emphasis on the composition of each.

Describe the
appearance of the sun's spectrum and state the atomic processes that produce
this spectrum.

Briefly, in a
sentence or two, explain the source of the sun's energy.

State the specific
thermonuclear reactions that produce the sun's energy and describe the
conditions needed for them to take place.

Seven - Central Concepts

determine the physical properties of stars by finding their distances and
analyzing the light received from them. Their properties can be summarized in a
mass luminosity diagram. Like the sun, we find that stars are naturally
controlled thermonuclear reactors.

Stars are born out
of the material in the space between the stars. This material consists of gas
(in a variety of forms) and dust, mostly collected in clouds.

Seven - Learning Outcomes

Outline the
methods astronomers use to find the following physical properties of stars:
surface temperature, chemical composition, size (radius or diameter), mass,
luminosity, and density.

Describe the
relationship between a star's color and its surface temperature.

Show by a simple
diagram the relationship between a star's distance and its parallax, noting the
limitations imposed by the earth _ sun distance.

observational evidence for the presence of gas and dust between the stars.

Compare and
contrast the different forms in which the interstellar gas is found and tell
how each form is observed.

Describe three
observable effects of interstellar dust on starlight.

Argue that star
birth is occurring now in our Galaxy, with a focus on infrared and radio

Explain the
observational evidence to date for the existence of extra solar planets around
normal stars.

Eight - Central Concepts

Stars evolve;
their physical properties change as they go through their normal lives. The
main agent in how and how fast a star evolves is its mass.

Stars finally lose
their struggle with gravity. Most stars die violently and leave behind strange
corpses: white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.

Eight - Learning Outcomes

Describe the
physical basis of a theoretical model of a star, that is, the physical concepts
that go into building a star model.

Trace the
evolution of a 1-solar_mass star on an H -R diagram, describing the physical
changes of the star that result from changes in the star's core.

Compare the
evolutionary tracks of a 1-solar-mass star and a 5-solar--mass star on an H - R

Indicate how mass
and chemical composition affects stellar evolution.

Describe how
fusion reactions in stars during their normal lives result in the manufacture
of some heavy elements, and indicate how these processed materials may be
recycled to the interstellar medium.

Compare the
physical natures of white dwarfs and neutron stars; describe the place of each
in stellar evolution and observational evidence for them.

Outline possible
models for supernova explosions and describe the effects of the aftermath of
such an explosion on the interstellar medium.

Cite observational
evidence that the Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant and describe the effect of
the pulsar on the nebula now.

Describe how
synchrotron radiation is emitted, identify its observed properties, and apply
this concept to appropriate astrophysical situations.

Describe how
nucleosynthesis can occur in a supernova and identify possible products of such
nuclear reactions.

Nine - Central Concepts

Field Trip to the
Air and Space Museum

Nine - Learning Outcomes

Review and
application of all previous outcomes

Ten - Central Concepts

The evolution of
the Milky Way, a spiral galaxy, is driven primarily by the evolution of the
parts that make up its disk.

Galaxies make up
the visible universe; how are they distributed throughout space and time gives
us clues about the origin of the cosmos.

Ten - Learning Outcomes

Explain at least
one astronomical difficulty in trying to figure out the structure of the Galaxy
from our location in it.

Name the important
spiral arm tracers and state generally how they are used to map spiral

Present the
observational evidence for the Galaxy's having a spiral structure; that is,
describe what specific methods astronomers use to work out the positions of
spiral arms.

Sketch the
rotation curve of the Galaxy, describe how to find from it the approximate mass
of the Galaxy, and argue that a significant amount of the Galaxy's mass must
exist in the halo in an unseen form.

Outline a model
for the evolution of the disk of the Galaxy.

Speculate on the
future of the Galaxy from current information and models.



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Last Updated:12/3/2006 9:26:55 AM