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WELCOME! to the home page for ASTR 1120: Stars and Galaxies. This is a one semester 3-credit course, intended for non-science majors, that explores the Sun and the Universe beyond our own Solar System. ASTR 1120 is a nonsequence course, without labs, which is approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum. Please read and keep a copy of the class syllabus, which describes important class dates and policies.

AIMS: The course is organized around three questions: Why does the Sun shine? What is a black hole? How did the structures we see in the Universe today (stars, planets, galaxies...) form? We will discuss what astronomers know today about the answers to each of these questions. More broadly, I hope to convince you that, via a combination of careful observation and theory, science allows us to confidently answer at least some questions that lie far outside the realm of what we experience in everyday life.

LECTURES: We will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00pm in Duane G1B30. Several classes (Feb 14th, Mar 16th, Apr 20th) will instead meet at Fiske Planetarium, on those days go directly to the Planetarium (directions: at the corner of Regent Drive / Kittredge Loop). As a courtesy to your fellow students please turn cellphones off during lectures, and do not leave class early (this is especially disruptive in G1B30).

  Monday: 1-2pm (Bruce Ferguson, APS TA office)
  Tuesday: 3:15-4:30pm (Phil Armitage, JILA A909)
  Wednesday: 1-2pm (Bruce Ferguson, APS TA office)
  Thursday: 3:15-4:30pm (Phil Armitage, JILA A909)

TEXTBOOK: The required text is The Cosmic Perspective by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider and Voit. I will assign regular readings from this book. If you buy a new book you should get the latest (fourth) edition, but a copy of the third edition is OK for this class too.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: You will need an infrared clicker for in class quizzes on the reading and on lecture material. Click on the following link to register your clicker. Your answers to clicker questions will be saved even prior to registration, but until you register you won't be able to check your scores online.

OBSERVING EVENINGS: The final observing evening will be on Thursday April 20th, starting at 8:30pm. Follow the directions to Sommers-Bausch observatory. Observing is optional, but fun and can be used to gain a small amount of extra credit. The final date for accepting extra credit reports is Tuesday 2nd May, in class.

EXAMS: Thursday February 16th (midterm 1), Tuesday March 21st (midterm 2), Saturday May 6th 4:30pm (final).

Instructor: Phil Armitage (JILA A909, 303-492-7836, email