Descriptive Astronomy, ASTRO 10, Fall 2008
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San José State University
College of Science/Physics and Astronomy
ASTRO 10, Descriptive Astronomy, Section 1, Spring 2010
Dr. Olenka Hubickyj
(408) 924 – 5256
MTWThF 9:00 am – 10 am
MWTh 3:00 pm – 4 pm
TTh 10:30 am to 11:45 am
GE/SJSU Studies Category:
Faculty Web Page and MYSJSU Messaging
Copies of the course materials such as the syllabus, major assignment handouts, etc. may be found on my faculty
web) ; www.sjsu.edu/people/olenka.hubickyjcabot
This course is a general introduction to our present understanding of the origin and evolution of our solar system,
the planets, and the other objects that orbit the Sun. How did the solar system form and eventually evolve to one
containing planets, including at least one that harbors life? We will focus on how the scientific method has been
used to form our present understanding, and we will spend some time discussing how science is actually carried out.
We will also review the physical laws that are at work throughout the Universe. Although many facts will be
presented, the course objectives will be
rather than to memorize facts. We will focus on
1) Brief historical background, the scientific method, and basic physical laws.
2) The techniques used in modern astronomy, including the use of spectroscopy, telescopes, CCDs, and
3) The formation and structure of the Sun.
4) The formation and evolution of planets.
5) The possibility of past, present, or future life on other worlds, such as Mars and Europa.
6) Current events in astronomy will be included when the topics are discussed, including details of my own
research in planetary science. The news is full of the latest astronomical results, and we will discuss new
discoveries as they arise. I encourage you to read the news (the newspaper and/or internet websites ) and to
bring up the topics in class you find interesting!
Course Goals and Student Learning Objecti
During this course:
Students will learn to
distinguish science from pseudo-science
1. criticizing a pseudo-scientific proposal and identifying the classes of errors involved;