GO130 Astronomy

for FA 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


GO 130 Astronomy


FA 2012 HOA


Miller, Christopher O.


Adjunct Faculty



Office Location

Science Building

Office Hours

5:15 - 5:45 PM   MW



Semester Dates

Monday, January 16 - Friday, May 11, 2012

Class Days

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

Class Time

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

Credit Hours



Universe 9th ed. 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:
astronomy mobile and/or laptop apps; red-light flashlight; clipboard; glasses/contact lenses; calculator; warm clothes for cold nights; a scarf, cap, hair tie, etc. for windy nights.

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.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.


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 instructor, 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 instructor 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 forces one to refine their reasoning.  Whenever a student requests or receives help from a peer, both benefit.

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.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the tools--instruments and laws of nature--that astronomers use to understand the heavens and, using proper terminology, explain planetary orbits, the seasons, and moon phases.
  2. Explain how the planets and major moons formed and developed, and have come to have the composition, internal structures and atmospheres they currently have, giving special consideration to conditions suitable for developing and/or sustaining life.
  3. Explain how stars are powered and how they evolve; analyze the evidence that supports these claims.
  4. Describe how matter is currently distributed throughout the universe (from galaxy types to larger scale structures), explain how it got that way, and analyze the evidence that supports these claims.
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.
  • Labs:  Lab reports will often be collected at the end of lab.  The completeness, accuracy, integrity, and presentation of your lab reports will determine your Lab Report grade.  Obviously, you must attend the labs to receive credit for them.
  • Portfolio:  For the portfolio assignment, the student will select up to two assignments, quizzes, lab reports, tests that the student believes demonstrates that they have achieved mastery of the course's Instructor Learning Outcomes.  For each outcome the student will write a reflection paper explaining why those particular assignments, quizzes, lab reports, or tests were selected and how they demonstrate the mastery of the outcome in question.  Points will be given for creativity and analysis.  This is one way for the student to take control of their own grade in this course.
  • Tests:  Tests are generally a mix of multiple choice and short answer/essay questions.
  • Final:  The final is required and comprehensive.
  • Optional Projects:  Both individual and group projects are possible.  Possibilities include: research papers, essays, a Solar System survey, a sci-fi short story, an original song, a report, an HR Diagram, a Distance Ladder.
  • Grading:

    20%  Classwork & Homework

    25%  Labs

    20%  Portfolio (Core Assessment)

    25%  Tests

    10%  Final

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

    Late Submission of Course Materials:

    Homework and classwork is never accepted late.  Labs (weather permitting) can be made up if done in a timely fashion (i.e. by the next week if possible).  Late projects and portfolios will be subject to a penalty (e.g. -5% per day late).

    Computer and printer malfunctions are not considered acceptable excuses for late assignments.  This instructor recommends you save and back up your work--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, doing optional projects) will receive AstroCredits which can be used to, among other things, drop your lowest test grade.

    Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

    GO 130 §HOA: Fall 2012 Tentative Calendar







    Mon, Aug 20, 2012

    1, 4

    History of Astronomy; Physical Concepts



    Wed, Aug 22, 2012

    2, 3

    Celestial Mechanics

    Moon Phases


    Mon, Aug 27, 2012


    EM Spectrum; Atoms and Photons



    Wed, Aug 29, 2012





    Mon, Sep 3, 2012

    Labor Day


    Wed, Sep 5, 2012


    Formation of the Solar System

    Exam 1: History & Concepts


    Mon, Sep 10, 2012


    Earth: Our Planet


    Wed, Sep 12, 2012

    10, 11

    Moon and Mercury

    Earth-Moon Model


    Mon, Sep 17, 2012


    Venus: Geology & Atmospheres

    Crater Counting


    Wed, Sep 19, 2012


    Mars: Geology & Atmospheres



    Mon, Sep 24, 2012

    12, 14

    Jovian Planets

    Exam 2: The Inner Planets


    Wed, Sep 26, 2012


    Galilean Moons


    Mon, Oct 1, 2012

    13, 14

    non-Galilean Moons and Ring Systems


    Wed, Oct 3, 2012


    Asteroids & Meteorites

    Solar System Model


    Mon, Oct 8, 2012

    14, 15

    Kuiper Belt Objects (Pluto) & Comets

    Solar System Project


    Wed, Oct 10, 2012


    The Solar Interior

    Exam 3: The Outer Solar System

    Mon, Oct 15, 2012

    Fall Break

    Wed, Oct 17, 2012

    Fall Break


    Mon, Oct 22, 2012


    The Solar Surface and Atmosphere


    Wed, Oct 24, 2012




    Mon, Oct 29, 2012


    Star Birth

    HR Diagram


    Wed, Oct 31, 2012


    Stellar Evolution


    Mon, Nov 5, 2012


    Star Death

    Black Holes


    Wed, Nov 7, 2012


    Discovering Our Milky Way Galaxy

    Exam 4: Stars


    Mon, Nov 12, 2012

    Veteran’s Day (observed)


    Wed, Nov 14, 2012


    The Milky Way: Our Galaxy

    Milky Way Model


    Mon, Nov 19, 2012


    Normal Galaxies


    Wed, Nov 21, 2012


    Active Galaxies


    Mon, Nov 26, 2012


    The Universe

    Universe Model


    Wed, Nov 28, 2012



    Distance Ladder Project


    Mon, Dec 3, 2012


    Extrasolar Planets

    Exam 5: The Universe


    Wed, Dec 5, 2012


    Life (The Drake Equation)



    Mon, Dec 10, 2012

    Final: 7:00 - 9:00 PM


    Wed, Dec 12, 2012

    Finals Week


    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 (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

    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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

    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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

    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:

    Lecture notes, online homework, and other useful information can be found on our class's parkonline.org website.





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      Last Updated:8/13/2012 11:52:31 AM