Astronomy 312: Galactic & Extragalactic Astronomy Spring 2020



Lecture:  Tuesday and Thursday

Location: RITA 363

Time: 10:50 am - 12:05 pm



Instructor: Dr. George Chartas

Office: 307 RITA

Office hours: TR 11:00am-noon

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.





Prerequisites/Corequisites: MATH 221 and ASTR 311

Required materials: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, B. W. Carroll & D. A. Ostlie (2nd Ed.)

You will also need a scientific calculator capable of computing exponential functions.


Course Objectives:

One of the goals of this class is to reveal to you some of the wonders of our cosmos.  The course will cover our Galaxy the Milky Way and a description of the nature and evolution of galaxies. You will learn about exotic objects in our Universe such as neutron stars, black holes, and active galactic nuclei. On a larger scale you will learn about the structure of the Universe. The course concludes with a description of the evolution and the early stages of the Universe. 

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. I expect your active participation in the class.

Learning Outcomes:

1.   Deepen students’ understanding of basic astrophysical principles.

2.   Broaden students’ training in astrophysical sciences.

3.   Develop in the students a working knowledge of galactic and extragalactic astronomy.




Your final grade will be calculated as follows:




Midterm 1


Midterm 2
















Grades will be curved to account for the varying difficulty level of exams. 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 handled 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