Astronomy 3600/3601
Konrad A. Aniol, aniol@jlab.org, kaniol@calstatela.edu, konradaniol@kaniol.org
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3-2100, BS 347/349
Instructor web page: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/konrad-aniol
Basic facts you will learn:
The meaning of parallax
The importance of geometrical methods through the centuries in astronomy
The observational basis for the Ptolemaic geocentric model
The meaning of celestial matter to the ancients
The revolutionary worldview shift of heliocentrism
The impact of Newtonian mechanics on our understanding of the cosmos
The essential role of spectroscopy in understanding the cosmos
How astronomers met the challenge of measuring astronomical distances
The impact of General Relativity on our understanding of the cosmos
The observational basis for the expanding universe
The origin of the chemical elements
How dark matter and dark energy affect cosmological evolution

 Course Content in Outline Form.
Check instructor's web page for important due dates.

Text: M.J. Crowe, "Theories of the World from Antiquity to the Copernican Revolution",  for weeks 1 through 6.
Recommended Text: M.J.Crowe,"Modern Theories of the Universe from Herschel to Hubble",  for weeks 7 through 12.
This book may only be available used. The online lecture notes contain sufficient material to cover cover weeks 7 through 12.
Weeks 13, 14, 15 are covered in the lecture notes. These weeks cover the latest information on cosmology.

week

Topics and activities

1

Form into groups of 4 to pose 4 questions per group about questions they want answered about the Universe. Importance of geometrical methods, Description of celestial motions, dynamical explanations by Aristotle, celestial vs terrestrial spheres, quintessence, parallax exercise as a group or individually

2

Mathematical techniques of the Greeks, eccentric circle, deferent and epicycle model, sources of ancient Chinese astronomy, observational basis for geocentrism or heliocentrism

3

Observational basis for Ptolemaic system, exercise heliocentrism->geocentrism conversion as a group effort or individually, importance of the sun's position in the Ptolemaic system

4

Heliocentrism proposed by Copernicus, “Save the Phenomena” philosophical position, academic and religious response to Copernicanism , advantages of Copernican model

5

1st paper due but check instructor's web page for dates, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, elliptical planetary orbits, eccentric circle vs ellipse exercise for Mar's orbit as a group effort or individually

6

Galileo's discoveries and “Dialogue on the two Great World Systems”, Isaac Newton and the rise of Universal Natural Law, gravitational exercise.

7

Midterm exam but check instructor's web page for dates, importance of telescopes, brightness and angular magnification exercise for telescopes as a group or individually, reflecting vs refracting telescope, Edwin Hubble's methodology

8

Stellar parallax, aberration of starlight, Royal Society archives, Olber's paradox, Edmund Halley discovers motion of stars, importance of astronomical unit, speed of light

9

Cataloging nebula, disk theory of the galaxy, Island Universe theory and Immanuel Kant, William Herschel the stellar astronomer, Spiral structure of M51 and Earl of Rosse, Can we know what stars are made of? Can we measure stellar velocities?

10

2nd paper due but check instructor's web page for dates, Fraunhofer, Bunsen, Kirchoff and spectroscopy, stellar parallax measured!, Huggins, Doppler effect, stellar velocities, classification of stellar spectra, “Lady Computers”, Cepheid variables period luminosity relationship and Henrietta Leavitt, Black Body Radiation, Shadow measurements for Radius of the Earth report

11

Mass of galaxy exercise as a group or individually, massive black hole at galactic center, Simon Newcomb and the astronomical unit, Mercury's orbit defies Newton, Einstein and Special Relativity theory

12

Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and exercise as a group or individually, Hubble measures distance to M33 and M31, Hubble discovers the expanding universe, Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin explains stellar spectra, exercise using Leavitt and Hubble data to determine distance to M33

13

General Relativity, dusty models of the universe, Big Bang hypothesis, discovery of Dark Matter, “Radius of the Earth” report is due, three pieces of evidence for the expanding universe and Big Bang Model, Inflationary theory and quantum mechanics

14

General Relativity, dusty models of the universe, Big Bang hypothesis, discovery of Dark Matter, “Radius of the Earth” report is due, three pieces of evidence for the expanding universe and Big Bang Model, Inflationary theory and quantum mechanics

15

Term paper due, Is laboratory based science enough to understand the Universe?, highlights of the course


Grading

The course grade will be determined by two written reports(3-4 pages) ; on the term paper(6-8 pages) which will be on a subject chosen from a list of possible topics given by the instructor or approved by the instructor; on the field report describing the results of the determination of the earth's radius; and on the midterm and final exams. All written papers must include a bibliography whose entries are cited in the paper. Books, Journal Articles or Web references may be used. Web references are not refereed, so you can never be sure that what is written on a web page is not just some individual's point of view. Web references must include the url. The papers are to be factual reports and not personal essays. You can use the citation scheme that is standard for your major field of study.

NOTE:FOR ASTR3601: THE TOTAL WORD COUNT OF YOUR WRITING MUST BE AT LEAST 5000 WORDS TO SATISFY THE WRITING INTENSIVE CRITERION. PLEASE INCLUDE IN YOUR REPORT THE WORD COUNT.  ASSUME YOUR FIRST SUBMISSION OF A PAPER IS A DRAFT. I WILL NOTE NEEDED CORRECTIONS ON YOUR DRAFTS. RETURN YOUR CORRECTED REPORTS TO ME FOR A FINAL GRADE ON THE PAPER. GRAMMAR, SPELLING, CLARITY AND COHERENCE OF YOUR REPORTS ARE THE CRITERIA I WILL USE FOR GRADING.

  1. two short papers (3-4 pages), See the instructor web page for the course for the due date. http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/konrad-aniol.

  2. You may substitute one or both of these papers by the exercises listed below.
       EXERCISES
    A geometrical exercise of geocentric to heliocentic conversion.
    Determination of the distance to the moon exercise.
    Tabulate and plot Messier objects distribution.
    2) term paper(6-8 pages), due in week 15
    3) field exercise report on radius of the earth due in Week 14
    4) midterm exam and final exam

Approximate weighting scheme: The two short papers and midterm exam are worth 10 points each. The final exam, radius of the earth measurement and term paper are worth 20 points each. The course grade is based on a total of 90 points.

A sampling of term paper or short paper subjects is, for example,

- Discussion of the "Save the Phenomena " position in ancient and modern science
- How do the notions of a finite sized Universe and a beginning and end of time fit in with our every day experience of space and time?
- Discussion of the axiom that " nothing can be created from nothing" and the Inflationary Universe Theory
- What are the limits of scientific knowledge? Will we every come to a final theory?
- Compare the concepts of dark matter and celestial matter.
- Biographical account of a significant figure in astronomy with special emphasis on his/her scientific contributions
- Discussion of techniques in astronomy, e.g., spectroscopy, telescopes, methods of determining distances
- Discussion of the impact of revolutionary astronomical ideas on areas of human interest outside of the field of astronomy itself
-Report on the mathematical/scientific development of Astronomy in countries outside the Mediterranean basin. This should include as little mythology as possible, although some may be unavoidable.
-Discussion of some current area of research in astronomy, black holes, dark energy, gravitational waves, exoplanets, astrobiology, Kuiper Belt, etc.
- If you have a different topic in mind for the term paper or short paper, please clear it with the instructor before you start.

A List of some useful web sites

Useful web sites

Lectures on Modern Cosmology by Stephen Hawking   http://www.hawking.org.uk/.

The Scientific American Compilation is here The Once and Future Universe.

  Web site for the  Rise of Natural Law, http://east-of-rhine.kaniol.org/a360/natural_law.htm

U.S. Naval Observatory   home page   http://www.usno.navy.mil//
                                     applications , http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications

 Astrometry, finding the precise locations and distances to the stars

 Hipparcos satellite, results
  GAIA satellite

ADA statement: Reasonable accomodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accomodation.

Academic Honesty statement: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/senate/handbook/ch5a.htm

Policy on missed classes