Astronomy 129: Introductory Astronomy I LAB

Section L1, Spring 2018



Lab Day: Tuesday 

Location: School of Sciences and Mathematics Building, SSMB 211

Observing Location: Saint Philip Str. Garage, 89 Saint Philip Str.

Time: 7:00PM-10:00PM



Instructor: Dr. George Chartas

Office: 206 J. C. Jong

Office hours: TR 3:00-5:30 pm

Phone: (843) 953-3609



CO-requisite: ASTR 129


A preliminary outline of the course can be found at the SCHEDULE website. Some of this material is subject to change and this site will be constantly up-dated so please check it before each class.









Required materials:

a)   The College of Charleston Astronomy Lab manual (you may purchase it from SAS-E Ink located on 219 Calhoun Str., Charleston)

b)   The textbook for the course is Bennett, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N., and Voit, M., titled The Cosmic Perspective 8th Edition.

c)   A scientific calculator capable of computing exponential functions




Course Objectives:

One of the goals of this class in combination with the associated lecture is to reveal to you some of the wonders of our cosmos.  You will learn how the scientific method is used to explain the underlying causes behind astrophysical phenomena. The lab activities will provide a hands-on approach to better understand the material taught in the astronomy 129 lectures. Specifically, in Astronomy 129 Lab, students will learn how to use star charts and planetarium software to identify stars and constellations in the sky at any date and time, use a celestial globe and a rotating star chart to understand the diurnal and yearly motions of the Earth and the celestial coordinate system, learn how to setup a telescope and how to observe objects through a telescope, learn how craters form, confirm Kepler’s laws by analyzing real data from the orbit of a satellite, and even plan a mission to Europa!


Astronomy 129 will also improve several general skills that will be useful for students. In particular, the lab will enhance student’s teamwork skills, students will learn the basics of collecting, analyzing and presenting scientific data, use simple statistics to analyze data, learn how to interpret data, improve on computer skills and learn about telescope calibration. I recommend that you review the material before it is presented in class. This will help you to better understand the concepts and enjoy the class.


General Education Learning Outcomes:

1. Students apply physical/natural principles to analyze and solve problems.


2. Students explain how science impacts society.



A more detailed description of the learning outcomes and objectives of this course are included in Learning Outcomes.




It is important that you attend every lab since there are only 13 labs per semester and each one therefore carries a significant fraction of your grade. Also missing a lab will make it difficult for you to understand and carry out upcoming labs. For example, missing the lab related to telescope setup would make it extremely difficult for you to use the telescope in following labs that require you to observe celestial objects. In the case that you do end up missing a lab, the absence will have to be documented. You can miss up to one lab (documented absence) without it affecting your final grade. Any additional labs missed, for whatever reason, will negatively affect your final grade.




You will be graded for each lab. Labs reports will be completed and handed in before you leave. I will indicate which lab reports you may collaborate on and for which ones I expect you to complete individually. Collaboration is not allowed on quizzes. Your number grade will be converted into a letter grade as follows.







































Special Needs:

If you have any special needs or disabilities that might require special arrangements to be made for any aspect of this course, please let me know at the beginning of the semester or as soon as you become aware of them.

1.                  Any student eligible for and needing accommodations because of a disability is requested to speak with the professor during the first two weeks of class or as soon as the student has been approved for services so that reasonable accommodations can be arranged.



2.                  The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  Students should apply for services at the Center for Disability Services/SNAP located on the first floor of the Lightsey Center, Suite 104.  Students approved for accommodations are responsible for notifying me as soon as possible and for contacting me one week before accommodation is needed.


3.                  This College abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have a documented disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please see an administrator at the Center of Disability Services/SNAP, (843) 953-1431) or me so that such accommodation may be arranged.





Class Policies:

Cellular technology:  Please respect your classmates and keep your cellular devices off.

College of Charleston Honor Code and Academic Integrity:

Lying, cheating, attempted cheating, and plagiarism are violations of our Honor Code that, when identified, are investigated.  Each incident will be examined to determine the degree of deception involved.


Incidents where the instructor determines the student-s actions are related more to a misunderstanding will be handeled by the instructor.  A written intervention designed to help prevent the student from repeating the error will be given to the student.  The intervention, submitted by form and signed both by the instructor and the student, will be forwarded to the Dean of Students and placed in the student-s file.  


Cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be reported directly by the instructor and/or others having knowledge of the incident to the Dean of Students.  A student found responsible by the Honor Board for academic dishonesty will receive a XF in the course, indicating failure of the course due to academic dishonesty.  This grade will appear on the student-s transcript for two years after which the student may petition for the X to be expunged.  The F is permanent.  The student may also be placed on disciplinary probation, suspended (temporary removal) or expelled (permanent removal) from the College by the Honor Board.


Students should be aware that unauthorized collaboration--working together without permission-- is a form of cheating.  Unless the instructor specifies that students can work together on an assignment, quiz and/or test, no collaboration during the completion of the assignment is permitted.   Other forms of cheating include possessing or using an unauthorized study aid (which could include accessing information via a cell phone or computer), copying from others- exams, fabricating data, and giving unauthorized assistance.


Research conducted and/or papers written for other classes cannot be used in whole or in part for any assignment in this class without obtaining prior permission from the instructor. 


Students can find the complete Honor Code and all related processes in the Student Handbook at