Jul 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Course Catalog 
2022-2023 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PHYS 1035 - Observational Astronomy

Credits: 3
Hours/Week: Lecture 2 Lab 2
Course Description: Observational Astronomy introduces the student to the basic ideas of astronomy in the context of measurement and analysis. Students will be offered the chance to make observations on a variety of astronomical topics, such as lunar observations, unaided-eye observations of the stars, and indirect observations of solar phenomena. The lecture part of the class links these observations to their scientific foundation as well as introducing the student to the methods of analysis that will be used to draw conclusions from their observations. This is a laboratory course that makes use of student observations of celestial phenomena.
MnTC Goals
3 Natural Science

Prerequisite(s): Course placement into MATH 0070  or higher or completion of MATH 0030  or MATH 0060  with a grade of C or higher. Restriction: Closed to students who have completed PHYS 1030 .
Corequisite(s): None
Recommendation: None

Major Content

  1. Lunar Motion.
    1. Lunar Phases.
    2. Lunar Eclipses (when possible).
  2. Solar Motion.
    1. Measurement of Earth’s Circumference.
    2. Ecliptic.
    3. Seasons and Solar Altitude.
  3. Stellar Motion.
    1. Daily Motion of the Stars.
    2. Observations of the Zodiacal Constellations.
  4. Solar Observations.
    1. Solar Eclipses (when possible).
    2. Sunspots.
    3. Rotation of the Sun.
  5. The Solar Planets.
    1. Retrograde Motion.
    2. Planetary Observations.
    3. Moon Systems (Jupiter).
  6. Stellar Astronomy.
    1. Apparent Magnitude.
    2. Visible Binaries.
    3. Stellar Spectra.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. analyze numerical data to determine trends and relationships as related to scientific theories.
  2. describe the motion of the stars and planets in terms of scientific models.
  3. link observational data to scientific models to provide evidence for scientific theories.
  4. measure the motion of celestial objects.

Competency 1 (1-6)
03. 01. Demonstrate understanding of scientific theories.

03. 02. Formulate and test hypotheses by performing laboratory, simulation, or field experiments in at least two of the natural science disciplines. One of these experimental components should develop, in greater depth, students’ laboratory experience in the collection of data, its statistical and graphical analysis, and an appreciation of its sources of error and uncertainty.

03. 03. Communicate their experimental findings, analyses, and interpretations both orally and in writing.

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