Astronomy 129: Astronomy I LAB

Section L8 Fall 2014


Lab Day:  Thursday

Location: School of Science and Mathematics Building, room SSMB 211

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

Time: 7:00-10:00 PM (section L8)



Instructor: Dr. George Chartas

Office: 206 JC Long

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

Phone: (843) 953-3609



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:

You will need :

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

b)   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 KeplerŐs 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 studentŐs 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 develop an understanding of the impact that science has on 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.





Class Policies:

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


Violations of the College of Charleston Honor Code (including cheating or attempted cheating) will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs for adjudication. Examples of cheating include copying quiz answers and using cellular technology to communicate information during a quiz.