Astronomy 161 – Syllabus for Winter Quarter 2008 – Prof. Martini
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Astronomy 161 – Introduction to Solar System Astronomy
Winter Quarter 2008
MTWRF, 10:30-11:18am, 100 Stillman Hall (0100 SH)
Office: 4021 McPherson Lab (292-8632)
Office Hours: Tues, Thurs 2:00-3:00, Wed 11:30-12:30, or by appointment
Ms. Kate Grier
Office: 4000 McPherson Lab (292-3099)
Office Hours: Wed, Thurs 11:30 to 12:30, or by appointment
(2nd Edition), by Hester, Blumenthal, Smith,
Burstein, Greeley, and Voss. This textbook is recommended for both Astronomy 161 and 162. There is
also a shorter (and slightly less expensive) volume entitled
Century Astronomy: The Solar System
(also 2nd Edition) by the same authors that contains only the material for Astronomy 161. If you plan
to take both Astronomy 161 and 162, you may find it more economical to purchase the larger volume.
Course Web Page:
Astronomy 161 is a Physical Science Course in the Natural Science category of the General Education
Curriculum. Courses in this category are intended to meet several or all of the following:
Courses in natural sciences foster an understanding of the principles, theories, and methods of modern
science, the relationship between science and technology, and the effects of science and technology on
Understand the basic facts, principles, theories, and methods of modern science.
Learn key events in the history of science.
Discover examples of the inter-dependence of scientific and technological developments.
Discuss social and philosophical implications of scientific discoveries and understand the
potential of science and technology to address problems of the contemporary world.
In Astronomy 161 we will meet these goals and objectives through the study of astronomy, with an
emphasis on the solar system. The course will begin with a study of how simple observations and
measurements can be used to understand the world around us, such as the origin of the seasons and the
phases of the moon. Along the way we will introduce basic physics concepts to understand
astronomical observations as well as use these observations to understand physics and scientific
theories. The second half of the course will concentrate on modern solar system astronomy. Here the
emphasis will be on what we know about the constituents of the solar system, most notably the planets,