Week 1

In anticipation of the coming weeks, you should begin to peruse the textbook, A Student's Guide through the Great Physics Texts, Volume 1: The Heavens and the Earth. In particular, you should read the Preface (pp. vii - xv) and browse through the table of contents (pp. xix - xxvii) in order to familiarize yourself with the organization and features of the book. You might also want to finger through the chapters to get a feel for the book.
Quiz: First day of class; no quiz!

Homework exercises: Download and install Stellarium on your personal computer or electronic device (the bigger the screen the better). A download link is available in the sidebar. Then spend a minimum of one hour looking at the motion of the sun, the moon, and the planets on Stellarium. This does not have to be all in one sitting. If you need a little assistance, the videos below will lead you through the basic features of Stellarium.

When using Stellarium, be sure your location is initially set to Milwaukee; use the date and time window to increment time in hours, days, and months while observing the positions of celestial objects such as the sun, moon, planets and stars.

To demonstrate your newly acquired skills: take two screenshots of the sky on the date of your birth (e.g. July 3, 2001) and submit them to me. One if these should show the sun and its surrounding constellation art at noon on the day you were born; the other should show an interesting feature of the night sky. This is due at noon on Saturday of Week 1.

Laboratory exercises: In our evening laboratory sections this week, we will be assembling a Horizon Globe, which was designed and built by Tom Van Damme and his colleagues over at HorizonGlobe.com. The Horizon Globe is a wonderful little mechanical model of the sky—a bit like an armillary sphere. Over the next two weeks, we will be working through a number of exercises using the Horizon Globe. You must do a (minimum) two-page write up in your astronomy book that describes the assembled apparatus and how it is used. This must be scanned and submitted via Canvass. It is due at noon on Monday of Week 3.

Introduction to Stellarium (5 videos):

Stars and Constellations (2 videos; I put two here from next week's material so you can get a head start)

Intro. to Astronomy