Astronomy 130: Introductory Astronomy II LAB

Section L3, Spring 2020



Lab Day: Wednesday 

Location: RITA room 365

Time: 4:00PM-7:00PM



Instructor: Dr. George Chartas

Office: RITA 307

Office hours: TWR 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Phone: (843) 953-3609



Pre-requisite: ASTR 129 and 129 lab; CO-requisite: ASTR 130


A preliminary outline of the course can be found at the Astronomy 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 9th 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 130 lectures.

Specifically, in Astronomy 130 Lab, students will learn about black body curves, find out how emission spectra are created, confirm the law of reflection, learn about and operate telescopes,  use parallax to compute the distance to an object, observe the different colors of stars, learn about spectral classification, learn about the Sun, use magnitudes to compute the distance to objects, learn to use the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, learn about eclipsing and spectroscopic binary stars, identify the morphology of galaxies and verify the expansion of our Universe.

Astronomy 130 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 Natural Science Learning Outcomes:

1. Students apply physical/natural principles to analyze and solve problems. (This outcome will be assessed by writing a report of one of the labs. It will count as 7.5% in your final lab grade.)


2. Students explain how science impacts society. (This outcome will be assessed in lab using an assignment involving writing a letter to a public official about an astronomy-related current event. It will count as 2.5% in your lab grade.)



Course-specific Learning Outcomes

1.     Students distinguish the nature and significance of the following: instruments used in astronomy, stars (binary, variable), star clusters, interstellar matter, galaxies and cosmology.


2.     Students demonstrate how the measurement of light is used to interpret physical characteristics of the universe.


3.     Students recognize the origins of astronomical objects.


4.     Students apply physical laws to reveal the nature of astrophysical phenomena.


5.     Enhance teamwork and communication skills.


6.     Learn lab safety.




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. In the case that you do end up missing a lab, the absence will have to be documented. You can miss up to two labs (only documented absences) without it affecting your final grade. Any additional labs missed, for whatever reason, will negatively affect your final grade. Undocumented absences will negatively affect your 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