Contact Information

Instructor: Jim Crumley
Office: 107 Peter Engel Science Center
Phone: 363-3183
Office Hour:3 pm odd days (or by appointment or just stop by)

Course Information

Lecture: 8:00-9:10, 9:40-10:50 Days 135
Room: 319 Peter Engel Science Center
Laboratory:Various times in St. John’s Observatory
Textbook: Foundations of Astronomy by Seeds, eighth edition
Web Sites:


Astronomy is one of the oldest of the sciences, so it is fitting that many of you are taking this class to meet the core natural science requirement. In this course we will talk not only about astronomy itself, but we also see some of the many areas that astronomy overlaps with other sciences, including biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. This course will not be a mathematically intensive course, though some mathematics will be used.

This course is about the solar system and much of the class will focus on the major objects in the solar system. To begin with we will go over some basics of astronomy to set the ground work for some of our later discussion of objects in the solar system. This basic astronomy will also hopefully help you understand what you see in the night sky.


The grades in this class will be based on 6 grades: lab grades, 3 test grades, the final exam grade and a quiz/homework/participation grade. The lab grade will be 10 %. each of the tests and the quiz/homework/participation grade will be 15 %, and the final will be 30 %.


As a requirement of this class, you will have to complete three night labs. More details about lab are included on a separate sheet.

Quizzes and Homework

Frequent quizzes will be given in this class. Some of the quizzes will be on previous readings and lectures, while others will be on material from the same lecture. Some quizzes will be done in groups, while others will be done as individuals. Points will likely be given out for some type of exercise every class day. You will not be able to make up points for classes you miss.

I expect you to read the textbook as well as attend class. Besides reading the text it also advisable to do some of the exercises in the end of the chapters. Some of the quizzes will be based on exercises from the book. Homework problems will also occasionally be assigned.


The tests in this class will be a mixture of multiple-choice, true/false, short answer and essay questions similar to old tests available on the web site above. The final exam will be cumulative.

Course Schedule

Cycle Date SectionsTopics Tests
1.1W 8/25 Scales Pre-Test
1.3 F 8/27 1Scales and Sky Map
1.5 T 8/31 2.1-2.2Star Finder
2.1 R 9/02 2.3Sky Projections
2.3 T 9/07 2.4-2.5Star Motion
2.5 R 9/09 3.1-3.2Cycles of the moon
3.1M 9/13 3.3-3.5Eclipses
3.3W 9/15 4.1-4.3Ancient Astronomy
3.5 F 9/17 4.4-5.2Modern Astronomy
4.1 T 9/21 5.3Relativity and Review
4.3 R 9/23 1-5 Test 1
4.5M 9/27 6.1-6.4Telescopes
5.1W 9/29 6.5-7.2Light
5.3 F 10/01 7.3 -8.1Light and Matter; The Sun
5.5 T 10/05 8.2 +Solar Activity and Space Weather
6.1 R 10/07 8.3Fusion in the Sun
6.3M 10/11 19.1-19.2Origin of the Solar System
6.5W 10/13 19.3-20.1Planet Formation; Formation of the Earth
7.1 T 10/19 20.2Solid Earth; Review
7.3 R 10/216-8,19-20 Test 2
7.5M 10/25 20.3 +Atmosphere and Aurora
8.1W 10/27 21.1-21.2The Moon and Mercury
8.3 F 10/29 22.1Venus
8.5 T 11/02 22.2-22.3Mars
9.1 R 11/04 +More on Mars
9.3M 11/08 23.1-23.2Jupiter
9.5W 11/10 23.3-23.4Saturn
10.1 F 11/12 24.1-24.2Uranus and Neptune
10.3 T 11/16 24.3Pluto
10.5 R 11/18 Review
11.1M 11/22 21-24 Test 3
11.3M 11/29 25.1Meteorites
11.5W 12/01 25.2-25.4Applications of Heat
12.1 F 12/03 26.1-26.3Life
12.3 T 12/07 26.3Life Elsewhere
12.5 R 12/09 Review Post-Test
T 12/14everything9:40 Section Final Exam at 11:00 am Final
W 12/15everything8:00 Section Final Exam at 11:00 am Final