Skip Navigation
 

Course Details

 

Course Details

Course Code: SPST630 Course ID: 3931 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course examines the exploration of the solar system with a focus on the methods used to explore the Sun, planets, moons, and small solar system bodies. Special emphasis is also placed on the space environment and its effects on current and future exploration activities. The threat of comet, asteroid, and meteoroid impacts on Earth will also be addressed. This course requires access to the web site MASTERING ASTRONOMY, and use of labs from the GEAS project website, which is supported by the NSF, and are used with permission. The link for GEAS labs is http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/geas/labs/html/home.shtml

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Start Month Session Weeks
07/25/2022 - 12/30/2022 01/02/2023 - 04/23/2023 January Winter 2023 Session A 16 Week session
10/31/2022 - 03/31/2023 04/03/2023 - 07/23/2023 April Spring 2023 Session A 16 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to

  • Diagram the modern view of the universe, its scale, and the place of humans and Earth within it. (CO-1)
  • Differentiate the daily, monthly, and annual motion seen in the night sky. (CO-2)
  • Synthesize the historical roots of astronomy, and the nature of science. (CO-3)
  • Demonstrate principles of the use of sky motions and coordinates for navigation. (CO-4)
  • Use Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation, and the laws of conservation as they relate to astronomy. (CO-5)
  • Analyze the interaction of light and matter and how we learn about distant objects via the electromagnetic spectrum. (CO-6)
  • Evaluate properties of the different types of telescopes, including modern improvements being used to study the cosmos. (CO-7)
  • Assess the benefits of comparative planetology for learning about Earth and other planets. (CO-8)
  • Appraise the theories of formation for our solar system and extrasolar planetary systems. (CO-9)
  • Compare and contrast the features of the terrestrial planets and the Jovian planets. (CO-10)
  • Distinguish the properties of the asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets in the solar system. (CO-11)
  • Examine the different methods of detection of extrasolar planets. (CO-12)
  • Evaluate methods of detecting near-Earth asteroids and potentially defending Earth from major impact (CO-13)

The grading will be based on homework assignments on MasteringAstronomy.com, forum assignments, lab assignments, and a final exam.

1. Most of the assignments in this class will be on the Mastering Astronomy web site. See the Mastering Astronomy guide in the week 1 lesson for instructions. The Course ID that you will need for enrollment is in the first announcement on the first day of class. The assignments on Mastering Astronomy have been designed to increase student understanding and retention of this material. They include tutorials, ranking tasks, quiz-type questions, and short answer questions. There will be a Mastering Astronomy assignment for each chapter that we are covering in The Cosmic Perspective, for a total of 14. Each one is worth 4% of your course grade.

2. You will be completing four practical laboratory-type assignments (all software-based). Details will be posted in the assignment module. You will do a formal write-up of your results. Each of these will be worth 4% of your course grade.

3. There will be sixteen forum assignments during the course (including the introductions forum. Details for each discussion will be in the Forum Module.

With the exception of formal extensions, forum assignments will not be accepted more than a week late. The reason for this is that they are intended to be an interactive exercise, and after a week your classmates will all have moved on to the next topic of discussion. In the case of formal extensions (read my late assignment and extension policy, available in the first week's lesson), the interactive portion of the grade (for the responses and replies to questions) will not be available. If you do need to request a formal extension, I would highly suggest getting the forum assignments done on time (or within a week), and use the extension for the other assignments.

Any direct quotations or paraphrasing must be properly cited, using the Turabian format. I suggest you write your posts in a word processor and then copy and paste to the forum. This way, you can use whatever proofreading tools you have. You all have spelling and grammar checkers, use them...but don't rely on them exclusively, make sure you read through your assignments to check for clarity and mistakes the computer can't catch, such as their/there/they're, to/too (and one of my personal favorites: definitely/defiantly). Writing in a word processor instead of the online classroom also prevents losing your post if the website hiccups.

The responses need to be substantive, and include the items listed above, not simply saying "good post" or "I agree."

Please try not to post at the last minute, as this hinders your classmates' ability to do their work on time, and reduces the overall quality of the class discussion.

4. There will be one final exam and a midterm in this course. Each will be a combination of types of questions, and will be timed. For short answer questions you are to answer the exam questions in your own words, not those of the book.

You must complete all assigned tasks to pass the course. Reading assignments for the semester are listed below. Your knowledge of the reading is reflected in your quiz scores and your ability to actively participate in the discussions. Each week's assignments and other information is contained in the "Lessons" area of the classroom. The lesson will step you through the materials for that week.

NameGrade %
Introductions Forum 1.00 %
Introductions Forum 1.00 %
Discussions 16.00 %
Week 2: Newton's Laws of Motion 1.07 %
Week 3: Astronomy Misconceptions 1.07 %
Week 4: Traditional Navigation 1.07 %
Week 5: Planetary Atmospheres 1.07 %
Week 6: Telescopes and Light in the News 1.07 %
Week 7: Advanced Telescope Technology 1.07 %
Week 8: Planetary Missions 1.07 %
Week 9: Women in Astronomy 1.07 %
Week 10: Jovian Moons in the News 1.07 %
Week 11: Planetary Defense 1.07 %
Week 12: Small Solar System Bodies Exploration - Educational Goals 1.07 %
Week 13: Current Research in Planetary and Solar System Studies 1.07 %
Week 14: Exoplanets 1.07 %
Week 15: Solar System Formation 1.07 %
Week 16: Wrap-Up 1.07 %
Labs 16.00 %
Parallax Measurements 4.00 %
Cratering and the Lunar Surface 4.00 %
The Martian Surface 4.00 %
Measuring the Mass of Jupiter 4.00 %
Research Paper 45.00 %
Thesis Topic 1.00 %
Annotated Bibliography 3.00 %
Paper Outline and Thesis Statement 6.00 %
Peer Review 10.00 %
Research Paper 25.00 %
Midterm Exam 10.00 %
Midterm Exam 10.00 %
Final Exam 12.00 %
Final Exam 12.00 %

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to

  • Diagram the modern view of the universe, its scale, and the place of humans and Earth within it. (CO-1)
  • Differentiate the daily, monthly, and annual motion seen in the night sky. (CO-2)
  • Synthesize the historical roots of astronomy, and the nature of science. (CO-3)
  • Demonstrate principles of the use of sky motions and coordinates for navigation. (CO-4)
  • Use Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation, and the laws of conservation as they relate to astronomy. (CO-5)
  • Analyze the interaction of light and matter and how we learn about distant objects via the electromagnetic spectrum. (CO-6)
  • Evaluate properties of the different types of telescopes, including modern improvements being used to study the cosmos. (CO-7)
  • Assess the benefits of comparative planetology for learning about Earth and other planets. (CO-8)
  • Appraise the theories of formation for our solar system and extrasolar planetary systems. (CO-9)
  • Compare and contrast the features of the terrestrial planets and the Jovian planets. (CO-10)
  • Distinguish the properties of the asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets in the solar system. (CO-11)
  • Examine the different methods of detection of extrasolar planets. (CO-12)
  • Evaluate methods of detecting near-Earth asteroids and potentially defending Earth from major impact (CO-13)
Book Title:Fundamental Planetary Science: Physics, Chemistry and Habitability (Ebook available in the APUS Online Library)
ISBN:9780521853309
Publication Info:Cambridge University Press Lib
Author:Lissauer, J. and de Pater, Imke
 

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.