AY 20: Basic Astronomy and the Galaxy 2008 Fall term Meets in 106 Robinson Monday 2:00-3:00PM Wednesday 2:00-3:00PM Friday 2:00-3:00PM Final Exams are available in the box outside Prof Phinney's office (125 Bridge). Prof: Sterl Phinney 125 Bridge x4308 esp [at] tapir.caltech.edu TAs: Timothy Morton 1 Robinson tdm [at] astro.caltech.edu x4095 Office hours: 4-6pm Thursday Drew Newman 220 Robinson anewman [at] astro.caltech.edu x 4987 Office hours: 4-6pm Thursday COURSE WEBSITE: WWW: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~esp/ay20/ TEXTBOOK: 1. An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (2nd Edition, 2007) by Bradley Carroll and Dale Ostlie ISBN 978-0805304022 (Pearson/Addison Wesley/Benjamin Cummings) Textbook's website (errata, computer programs, data, links): http://wps.aw.com/aw_carroll_ostlie_astro_2e/ SYLLABUS: Introduction and overview; celestial sphere, time systems, units Telescopes, observatories, surveys, astronomical data, web resources Celestial mechanics, Kepler's laws, binary stars and their uses Electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter Stellar atmospheres, classification of stellar spectra Stellar interiors, energy generation, main sequence The Sun, neutrino astronomy Post-MS evolution, stellar pulsation White dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, gravitational wave astronomy, Close binaries, stellar interactions, novae, supernovae, Interstellar matter, star formation, stellar luminosity and mass functions Extrasolar planets Star clusters and elementary stellar dynamics Our Galaxy: structure, content, rotation, kinematics, stellar populations Galactic morphology and spiral structure, dark matter, galaxy evolution OBSERVING PROJECT and FIELD TRIP: On Mon Oct 13, you must submit a two-page observing proposal to use the Palomar 1.5m telescope (P60) [or optionally, the 1m Table Mountain (T40) telescope] for an observing program of your choice (using not more than a total of 4 hours of telescope time). Page 1 should explain your project, why it is interesting, and what you expect to learn/show. Page 2 should list the object[s] to be observed, and the (approximate) dates, exposure times and filters. The P60 time will be queue scheduled from mid October to mid November, while the T40 time may be executed as a remote observing session. Information on the P60 is at http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~derekfox/P60/ and http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~derekfox/P60/status.html Information on the T40 is at http://www.astronomy.pomona.edu/tmo/index.html The best/most feasible observing programs will be selected by a "Time allocation commitee", and executed during mid-Oct to mid-Nov. The entire class will then participate in reducing and interpreting the data during the final 3 weeks of class. I would also like to schedule a field trip to the Palomar observatory. This year, new moons are on Oct 28 and Nov 27, while midterms are Oct 29-Nov 4. So the best dates for a Fri or Sat field trip would be Nov 7 or 8 (waxing gibbous moon) and Nov 21 or 22 (waning crescent moon). The best dates will be selected in class, and fine-tuned a few days before depending on weather forecasts and the fire situation. GRADING: There will be approximately weekly homework sets due in class on Monday, an open textbook midterm, and a closed-book final exam. Your grade will be a mostly monotonic function of lab writeups, homework, midterm and final. g = [0.4(sum of homework scores) + 0.15(observing/lab writeups) + 0.2(score on midterm exam) +0.25(score on final exam)]. LATE HOMEWORK POLICY: Homework extensions of up to 24 hours can be granted by Sterl or the TA. Longer extensions can only be approved by Sterl. No late homework will be accepted unless one of these prior arrangements has been made. Unapproved late homework will not be graded. COLLABORATION POLICY: (for details see the menu link to the full course collaboration policy). Collaboration on the homework is NOT ALLOWED. You have to do the homework all by yourself. You may consult books and published papers, but not old assignments or those of other students. First try every homework problem BY YOURSELF without discussing it with anyone. If you get stuck, you can TALK about the homework with the TA or your fellow students, but all exchanges of information must be aural and general in nature (i.e. "Did you remember to include Comptonisation" is ok. "The right answer is V k squared over pi squared" is NOT ok). Visual exchanges of information are strictly forbidden -you may not show each other equations, graphs, or computer programs in any form. For the observing project, the rules are different: sharing of computer programs and graphs is encouraged! In real research, no one else knows the answer to the problems you work on (otherwise why would you be doing them?), so the most important thing you can learn from homework is how to think and solve for yourself, and be confident in your answers.