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GO 130 Astronomy
Miller, Christopher O.

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


GO 130 Astronomy


SP 2011 HOA


Miller, Christopher O.


Adjunct Faculty



Office Location

Science Building

Office Hours

5:15 - 5:45 PM   MW


Semester Dates

Monday, January 10 - Wednesday May 4, 2011

Class Days

-M-W--- lecture, ---W--- lab

Class Time

5:45 - 7:00 PM lecture, 7:01 - 9:50 PM lab

Credit Hours



Universe 9e by Freedman, Geller & Kaufmann, published by W. H. Freeman and Company, ISBN 1-4292-3153-X

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
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McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
GO130 Astronomy (MGE): 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:
A learner has three assets they should make use of to succeed: their textbook, their facilitator, their peers.  Their textbook (and other resources, e.g. internet) will be ready when they are and give them as much time as they require.  Their facilitator will adapt to their needs and guide their efforts so they are focused efficiently.  Their peers, especially at the university level, are potentially their greatest asset.  Discussing concepts with peers will force them to refine their reasoning.  Whenever a learner requests or receives help from a fellow learner, both find the process elucidating.

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:

  • Assigned Reading:  Each student is expected to read the textbook, carefully and critically.
  • Homework/Classwork: Homework is due at the beginning of class; classwork is collected during class.  You are encouraged to work with your AstroTeams on both.
  • Lab Reports:  The reports will often be collected at the end of a class period.  The completeness, accuracy, integrity, and presentation of these reports will determine your Lab Report grade.  Lab participation is required to receive credit for the course.
  • Projects:  Both individual and group projects will be assigned.  Possibilities include: a Solar System Portfolio, a short science-fiction story, an original song, a research paper, an HR Diagram, a Distance Ladder.
  • Tests:  Make-up tests are not given.  If you miss a test, your grade on that test will be 0%.  However, AstroCredits can be used to drop your lowest test (and/or lowest classworks and/or homeworks).
  • Final:  The final exam is comprehensive and will be given 7:00 - 9:00 PM, Wednesday, December 8, 2010.
  • Grading:

    15%  Classwork & Homework

    25%  Lab Reports

    25%  Projects

    25%  Tests

    10%  Final

    The scale is traditional:  90% = A; 80% = B; 70% = C; 60% = D; <60% = F.

    Late Submission of Course Materials:

    Late homework or classwork is never accepted late and missed tests can not be made up (although see information on AstroCredits below).  Labs can be made up for full credit if done in a timely fashion (i.e. within two weeks).  Late projects will be subject to a penalty (e.g. -5% per day late).

    Computer and printer malfunctions will not be considered acceptable excuses for late assignments.  The instructor recommends that work be saved and backed up--a life lesson in general.

    Classroom Rules of Conduct:

    Students should have read the assigned material and finished any homework prior to class.  This will prepare them to get the most out of the lectures.  (Printing out the lecture notes ahead of time and bringing them to class is also encouraged.)

    Students will occasionally work in groups called AstroTeams.  AstroTeams that perform well (high homework/classwork averages, significant improvement in test scores, turning projects in on time) will receive AstroCredits that can be used to drop low or missing homework/classwork/test grades.

    Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:





    Activitie (2.)


    Mon, Jan 10, 2011

    1, 4

    History of Astronomy; Physical Concepts



    Wed, Jan 12, 2011

    2, 3

    Celestial Mechanics

    Moon Phases


    Mon, Jan 17, 2011

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day


    Wed, Jan 19, 2011


    EM Spectrum; Atoms and Photons



    Mon, Jan 24, 2011





    Wed, Jan 26, 2011

    Exam 1: History & Concepts


    Mon, Jan 31, 2011


    Formation of the Solar System


    Wed, Feb 2, 2011


    Earth: Our Planet

    Earth-Moon Model


    Mon, Feb 7, 2011

    10, 11

    Moon and Mercury

    Crater Counting


    Wed, Feb 9, 2011


    Venus and Mars: Geology


    Mon, Feb 14, 2011


    Venus and Mars: Atmospheres



    Wed, Feb 16, 2011

    Exam 2: The Inner Planets


    Mon, Feb 21, 2011

    President’s Holiday


    Wed, Feb 23, 2011

    12, 14

    Jovian Planets & Ring Systems

    Solar System Model


    Mon, Feb 28, 2011

    13, 14

    Moons of the Jovian Planets


    Wed, Mar 2, 2011


    Asteroids & Meteorites

    Mon, Mar 7, 2011

    Fall Break

    Wed, Mar 9, 2011

    Fall Break


    Mon, Mar 14, 2011

    14, 15

    Kuiper Belt Objects (Pluto) & Comets

    Solar System Project


    Wed, Mar 16, 2011

    Exam 3: The Outer Solar System


    Mon, Mar 21, 2011


    Sol: Our Sun--The Nearest Star


    Wed, Mar 23, 2011



    HR Diagram


    Mon, Mar 28, 2011


    Star Birth


    Wed, Mar 30, 2011


    Stellar Evolution


    Mon, Apr 4, 2011


    Star Death

    Black Holes


    Wed, Apr 6, 2011

    Exam 4: Stars


    Mon, Apr 11, 2011


    The Milky Way: Our Galaxy


    Wed, Apr 13, 2011


    Normal Galaxies


    Mon, Apr 18, 2011


    Active Galaxies


    Wed, Apr 20, 2011


    The Universe

    Universe Model


    Mon, Apr 25, 2011

    Exam 5: The Universe


    Wed, Apr 27, 2011


    Extraterrestrial Life


    Mon, May 2, 2011

    Finals Week


    Wed, May 4, 2011

    Final - 7:00 - 9:00 PM

    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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

    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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

    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 "F".
    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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

    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: .

    Additional Information:
    Lectures and other useful documents are uploaded to our class's website.




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      Last Updated:12/29/2010 9:14:39 AM