PHYSICS 1403
Stars and Galaxies

Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information
    1. Course Description:  Study of stars, galaxies and the universe outside our solar system.  Including an introduction to the properties of stellar evolution, black holes and current cosmological ideas.  Emphasis is on the application of scientific principles and explanation of phenomena in the universe.  The laboratory includes outdoor viewing sessions.
    2. Any required prerequisites:  None.
  2. Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes

COMM

CT

EQS

TW

Explain the daily and annual motions that occur in the sky.

 

 

X

 

Relate the contributions of astronomers through the centuries and describe the methods used by them to explain their observations.

X

 

 

X

Apply the principles of science to describe and explain various astronomical phenomena.

 

X

X

 

Describe the basic features of the Sun and explain how it produces energy.

X

 

 

X

List the different stages of stellar evolution and the properties of stars during their life cycles.

X

 

 

X

Distinguish between different types of galaxies and explain current views on their formation.

 

X

X

 

Discuss current cosmological ideas regarding the structure and formation of the universe.

 

X

 

 

  1. Major Course Requirements
    1. Homework/Activities and Quizzes – This course uses Mastering Astronomy from Pearson.  This online homework, tutorial and assessment system is designed to improve results by engaging students before, during and after class with powerful content.
    2. Lab Activities – There are classroom labs and star gazing sessions.  The classroom labs will be done individually and in groups of 2 or more and require a written lab report.  Each star gazing session will require a write up describing what you observed and each should be unique.
    3. Learning Project – This is a hands-on activity preceded by some research that includes some astronomical observing or creative expression of ideas learned during the semester.  Projects will be evaluated in the following categories:  idea, design, data, write-up and presentation.  More information will be provided at a later date.

Assignments

Proctored

Not Proctored

Homework/Activities

 

35%

Quizzes

20%

 

Lab Activities

20%

 

Learning Project

25%

 

Total Percentage

65%

35%

  1. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Required Book:  Essential Cosmic Perspective, 8th Edition by Bennett.  ISBN: 978-0-13-4446431.
    2. Mastering Astronomy Access is required.  ISBN:978-0-13-4583549
    3. The labs are available online on eCampus.  A printed hard copy of the write-up MUST be brought to the lab.
    4. Calculators:  A scientific calculator capable of handling exponential notation.  Cell phones may not be used as calculators.
  2. Other Policies, Procedures and important dates.  Please refer to the WTC Catalog for the following:
    1. Campus Calendar
    2.  Final exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Class Attendance
    7. Students with disabilities  
  3. Course Content

Part One: 
Developing Perspective

Chapter 1 – A Modern View of the Universe
Chapter 2 – Discovering the Universe for Yourself
Chapter 3 – The Science of Astronomy

Part Two: 
Key Concepts for Astronomy

Chapter 4—Making Sense of the Universe
Chapter 5—Light: The Cosmic Messenger

Part Three:
Learning from Other Worlds

Chapter 6—Formation of the Solar System
Chapter 7—Earth and the Terrestrial World
Chapter 8—Jovian Planet System
Chapter 9—Asteroid, Comets, and Dwarf Planets
Chapter 10—Other Planetary Systems

Part Four:
Stars

Chapter 11—Our Star
Chapter 12—Surveying the Stars
Chapter 13—Star Stuff
Chapter 14—The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard

Part Five: 
Galaxies

Chapter 15—Our Galaxy
Chapter 16—A Universe of Galaxies
Chapter 17—The Birth of the Universe
Chapter 18 Dark Matter (option)
Chapter 19 Life in the Universe (option)

Disclaimer:  Content is subject to change at instructor’s discrection.

 

Last Modified: April 2, 2018