Astronomy 201: The Solar System

Spring 2003

summary: In this class, we will focus on answering two questions: 1) Is Pluto a planet? and 2) The Goldilocks problem: Why is Venus too hot, Mars too cold, but the Earth just right?  We will put together information on orbits and gravity, the theory of the origin of planets and the solar sytem, asteroids, meteorites, knowledge gained from the exploration of Venus and Mars, the contents and thermal properties of atmospheres, and discoveries of extra-solar planets in trying to develop an adequate base for answering these questions.
Class Schedule & Reading Assignments
Week  1  :  2  :  3  :  4  :  5  :  6  :  7  :  8  :  9  :  10  :  11  :  12  :  13  :  14
Exam and Assignment Schedule and Grading Information

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Mars Orbiter Camera Picture of the Day

Astronomy News

Mars Odyssey mission
 Mars Global Surveyor mission
 countdown to: Mars Rover mission
 countdown to: Mars Express mission
 JPL link to all Mars missions


Instructor: David A. Weintraub
Office: 6910 Stevenson Center (9th floor, Physics Building)
Office Telephone: (32)2-5034
Email: david.a.weintraub@vanderbilt.edu
Department Phone: (32)2-2828
Department Fax: (34)3-7263
... about my research ...
Office Hours: M 1-3. And almost all other hours on MTWRF.
I am generally in my office and my office door is always open for visitors while I am there. Please drop in, any time, no appointment necessary, for any reason.
Time and Place:
Class Hours: MWF 11:10 - 12:00
Classroom:  SC  1432
Textbooks:
purchase: Classpak
WWW Sites:
Class web site address:
http://www.physics.vanderbilt.edu/astrocourses/ast201/syllabus.html
Prerequisites:
No course prerequisities in astronomy or physics.  Course will be mathematically oriented, but calculus is not required.
Class Requirements
  • four written exams.  Final exam will be comprehensive.
  • almost weekly problem assignments.
  • announced quizzes
  • semester tracking of Mars missions
  • special assignments
  • Grading Information:
    Grades can be checked by logging in to  Prometheus.
    Old Exams can be found at  Old Exam Page

    CLASS SCHEDULE & READING ASSIGNMENTS

    January 8 - 10 January 13 - 17 January 20 - 24 January 27 - 31 February 3 - 7 February 10 - 14 February 17 - 21 February 24 - 28 March 4-8: Spring Break

    March 10 - 14

    March 17 - 21 March 24 - 28 March 31 - April 4 April 7 - 11 April 14 - 18 ("Dead week" begins April 16) April 21


    April 23: Reading Day

    Final Exam Schedule:
    Saturday Apri.l 26:    Primary Final Exam, 3:00 PM, regular classroom
    Wednesday April 30: Alternate Final Exam, 12:00 noon, regular classroom