ASTR 202: Exploration of the Solar System
Fall 2001

General Information


ASTR 202 is an introductory course which surveys the sun, planetary motions, interplanetary fields and plasmas, the planets, their satellites and rings, and comets. The main goals of this course are to learn some basic facts and ideas about the solar system, to learn about how astronomers and physicists acquire and interpret this information, to develop skills in analytical thinking and quantitative analysis, and to simply enjoy "exploring new worlds"!

Prerequisites: High school mathematics, including some simple trigonometry (sines and cosines) and algebra (squares, square roots, logarithms, etc.), but no calculus.

Credit: 3 semester hours. Restricted distribution course, Group III.

Meeting Time: MWF 10:00am - 10:50am.

Classroom: Herman Brown Hall 227.

Course web page:

Please note: Some announcements (such as schedule changes and/or room changes) may be distributed via email - please check your email regularly!

Textbook (required)

Universe, sixth edition, R. A. Freedman and W. J. Kaufmann III, W. H. Freeman and Company.

The Universe web site

Homework and Grades

Grading Weights: Homework 55%
Exams 45%
I expect to assign a homework set about every week or so. Homework sets will be distributed in class and they will also be available from the course web page. Homework will usually be due at the beginning of class one week after assignment.

Homework Policy: Students are encouraged to discuss the general concepts of a homework problem, but each student must work out the details of the problems and write up their homework solutions independently. It may be useful to work out the details of a conceptually similar problem with your classmates. Of course, you are not permitted to copy anyone else's homework solution, that would be a violation of the honor code. Similarly, for essay-type questions the work you hand in should be an expression of your own thoughts in your own words.

Homework Late Policy: Homework sets will generally be worth 100 points each. Fifteen points will be deducted for each day or part of a day late. Homework will not be graded after the sixth day late. There is no penalty for handing in homework early!

Exams: Three pledged, in-class exams will be given during the course. There will be no final exam.

Disability Notice

Any student with a disability requiring accomodations in this class is encouraged to contact the instructor after class. Additionally, students should contact the Disabled Student Services office in the Ley Student Center.

Course Instructor

Anthony Chan
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Herman Brown Hall 364
Phone: 713-348-2531

Office Hours: MWF 10:50am-noon, TTh 3pm-4pm.

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