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Introduction to Astronomy: Homework

Course Materials are always under revision! Weblecture content may change anytime prior to two weeks before scheduled chat session for content.

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Scholars Online Astronomy - Introduction
Course Assignments Overview

This homework page has some extra introductory material to help you get started.

Organizing your Work

The following list gives you a general idea of each task you need to complete for our meetings. You may want to copy it to another file or spreadsheet to help you keep track of your assignment completion.

  • To prepare for the next Core course chat session:
    1. ____Check the homework page on the course content site for reading assignments, weblecture links, study activities, optional web reading
    2. ____Read the textbook sections assigned, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    3. ____Read the web lecture posted by the teacher, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    4. ____Complete the mastery exercises for the section.
    5. ____Write your answer to the question assigned to you in the forum
    6. ____Study the lab assignment and make note of any questions you have on performing the lab; be sure to ask these in chat or email the instructor
    7. ____Attend chat and ask your questions, defend your forum essay, and participate in the discussion
  • After completing a chapter in the text (check Moodle for due dates)
    1. ____Complete the mastery exercises and achieve 85% or better
    2. ____Take the Moodle Chapter Quiz: note these have limited availability dates and plan accordingly!
    3. ____Perform the assigned lab, analyze your data, and post your lab report by the due date

Getting to know the textbook

Reading about science, and reading a science textbook, require a different set of skills those you might use to read a novel or even a history textbook. Besides text information which is common to all of these, science textbooks include diagrams, graphs, tables and other means of presenting numerical information or process steps that must follow a given order. They also include mathematical formula, and often notes on how to use the formula or other scientific concepts in practical application. As you read, you not only need to take notes the way you might take notes for a history text, but you also need to study diagrams and work through example problems.

Take the time to become familiar with your textbook.


Reading Preparation

Reading assignment: The Student Study Guide at the Scholars Online Astronomy Course Website

Web Lecture

Read the following weblecture before chat: Introduction to the Study of Astronomy

Study Activity

Planetarium Programs:

The original edition of the textbook included a code for a free download of Starry Night Enthusiast. Electronic editions do not contain this code, and used editions generally have already used the code so that it will no longer work.

  • Starry Night Enthusiast costs $80 and is available from the Starry Night Enthusiast 7 Website. This edition should be sufficient to do the exercises in this course.
  • Sky Safari 6 for Mac OS X ( comes in 3 versions; the midlevel "Plus" version is $30 and does most of the things we need to do in this course.

Alternatively, you can get iPad or Android versions of these programs for somewhat less cost, but they are more difficult to use on a tablet, and you may have to jump through more hoops to print sky maps for observing.

Once you have installed your selected program, set it for your own latitude and longitude and read through any available instructions so that you can generate a current picture of the sky from your location.

Chat Preparation Activities

Chapter Quiz

Lab Work

Read through the lab for this week; bring questions to chat on any aspect of the lab, whether you intend not perform it or not. If you decide to perform the lab, be sure to submit your report by the posted due date.