Stars, Galaxies, and the
Fall 2011 - Prof. Kaaret -
Sections A and D (MW 3:30pm)
Instructor: Prof. Philip Kaaret
Office: 702 Van Allen Hall
Office hours: Tuesday 1–3 pm, Wednesday 10-11 am, or
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Physics and Astronomy
DEO: Prof. Mary Hall Reno
Office: 203 Van Allen Hall
Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe is a survey of the major ideas
in current astronomical research, intended for students who are not
the natural sciences. Students will learn about fascinating topics such
as black holes, the birth
and explosive death of stars, and the shape and eventual fate of the
learning goals include some factual knowledge, but emphasize
rather than memorizing facts. The major topics covered will be: the
night sky and how we
determine the properties of distant objects from observations, the
properties of stars including our own Sun, the properties of galaxies,
black holes, the
planets and life in the universe, and cosmology - the
study of the
universe as a whole.
This course is approved for the CLAS General Education Program.
Your responsibilities to this class include attendance and
are also expected to be honest and honorable in your fulfillment of
assignments and in test-taking situations. You have a responsibility to the rest of
the class, and to the instructor, to help create a classroom
where all may learn. Noise and disruptions during class will not
be tolerated. Students talking during lectures will be expected to
leave. Cell phones that ring
during lecture will be confiscated.
- To add or drop the course, students must visit
the Physics General Office in 203 VAN. According to Departmental
policy, the instructor cannot sign drop/add slips for courses with a
course number less than 100.
- Lectures are from 3:30 to 4:45 pm Mondays and Wednesdays in
Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall.
- The textbook for the course is Investigating
Slater and Freedman, published by W.H. Freeman and Company.
- There is a website for the course: http://astro.physics.uiowa.edu/~kaaret/f11.
lecture notes, and other
- Students must have a clicker and then register it in order to
respond to in-class questions which count towards the grade. See http://its.uiowa.edu/support/srs/student_faqs.shtml
about purchasing and registering clickers.
- Homework will be assigned each week and due Tuesdays at
midnight. Homework will be turned in via ICON.
- Exams will be
held during the regular
class period on September 21, October
26, and November 30.
- The final exam will be
held at 9:45
a.m. on Wednesday,
- Make-up exams will be allowed only for the most
compelling circumstances, such as incapacitating illness or death in
the immediate family. Documentation of the circumstances will be
- There is a laboratory associated with the D
section of this
course (29:050:SCD). Students registered for 29:050:00D receive 4
of credit and satisfy the General Education requirement for a
science laboratory. Each laboratory section meets for two hours per
room 666 of Van Allen Hall. Laboratory classes do not meet the
first week, but commence the week of August 29. Projects in the
laboratory consist of excerises on topics in astronomy and performing
and analyzing astronomical observations
with the Iowa Robotic Observatory. Students registered for 3 semester
(29:050:SCA) do not
attend the laboratory.
Additional UI and CLAS Policy and
- The score for the lecture course will be calculated from the
scores received for in-class clicker questions, homework, three hour
exams, and the
final exam. The total of the clicker questions, the total of the
homework, and each in-class exam will be worth 80 points. The
worst of these five scores will be dropped in calculating the
final grade. The final exam will be worth 160 points. The
for the lecture course has a maximum of 480 points.
- For students in 29:050:SCD (with lab) the score from the lecture
course will count for 75% of the course grade and the laboratory grade
will count for
the remaining 25%. Student
registered for 29:050:SCD must attend the assigned laboratory section and
receive a passing grade for the
laboratory in order to pass the course.
- The final letter grade distribution will be
as recommended by CLAS. Plus and minus grades will be assigned.
The A+ grade be awarded only in extraordinary situations.
- Absence from Class: To
make up a class missed for medical reasons, the student must fill out
the "Absence from Class Form" available at the Registrar's Page of Forms
Students. It is prefered that the student go to health
services or see a doctor. If the student does not, then section
5c must be filled out by a person who is not another student.
- Administrative Home: The College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs
matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option,
and other related issues. Different colleges may have different
policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall, or see the
- Electronic Communication: University policy
specifies that students are responsible for all official
correspondences sent to their University of Iowa e-mail address
(@uiowa.edu). Faculty and students should use this account for
correspondences. (Operations Manual, III.15.2.
down to k.11.)
- Accommodations for Disabilities: A student seeking academic
accommodations should first register with Student Disability Services
and then meet privately with the course instructor to make particular
arrangements. See www.uiowa.edu/~sds/ for more
- Academic Honesty: The College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences expects all students to do their own work, as stated in the CLAS
of Academic Honesty. Instructors fail any assignment that
shows evidence of plagiarism or other forms of cheating, also reporting
the student's name to the College. A student reported to the College
for cheating is placed on disciplinary probation; a student reported
twice is suspended or expelled.
- CLAS Final Examination Policies: Final exams may be offered only
during finals week. No exams of any kind are allowed during the last
week of classes. Students should not ask their instructor to reschedule
a final exam since the College does not permit rescheduling of a final
exam once the semester has begun. Questions should be addressed to
the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum.
- Making a Suggestion or a Complaint: Students with a suggestion or
complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course
supervisor, and then the departmental DEO. Complaints must be made
within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Student
- Understanding Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment subverts the
mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students,
faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a
responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe
environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment
should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive
Harassment for assistance, definitions, and the
full University policy.
- Reacting Safely to Severe Weather: In severe weather, class members
should seek appropriate shelter immediately, leaving the classroom if
necessary. The class will continue if possible when the event is over.
For more information on Hawk Alert and the siren warning system, visit
the Public Safety web