Astro 132, MWF 12:00 - 12:50

Professor: Chris Taylor                                                                                                   Office: 438 Sequoia Hall
Phone: 278-6480                                                                            Office Hours: M/W 9:00 - 9:50; Tu 1:00 - 1:50
E-mail: ctaylor (at)                                                                                                  also by appointment

Class announcements

January 28:
First Day of Class.  Find a copy of the syllabus here.
February 27: The answer from in-class writing assignment 2 is here. The list of review topics for Exam 1 is here.
March 14: The answer key for Exam 1 is available.
April 9: The list of review topics for Exam 2 is here.
April 21: The answer key for Exam 2 is available.
May 13: The list of review topics for the Final Exam is here.
May 22:
The Final Exam is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 from 10:15 AM to 12:15 PM


Week of
Material Covered
K reading
CM reading
Jan. 25, 27
Measuring the Brightnesses of Stars
Chapter 2.1 - 2.3, 2.4.2, 2.5, 2.7; Chapter 5.2.1
Chapter 17.2
Chapter 3
Feb. 1, 3
Measuring the Brightness of Stars (continued)

Feb. 8, 10
Understanding the Spectra of Stars
Chapter 3.1 - 3.4
Chapter 4
Chapter 17.3
Feb. 15, 17
Understanding the Spectra of Stars (continued)

Feb. 22, 24
The Sun
Chapter 6
Chapter 16
Mar. 1, 3
Binary Stars and Stellar Masses
Chapter 5.1, 5.3, 5.5; Chapter 2.6
Chapter 17.7
Mar. 8, 10
The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
Chapter 3.5, 5.6, 13.4
Chapter 17.5
Mar. 15, 17
Stellar Evolution Chapter 15.1 - 15.3, 15.5; and Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12
Chapter 19, 20, 21, 22
Mar. 21 - 27

Mar. 29
The Milky Way Galaxy
Chapter 13.1, 13.5; 14.4, 14.5; and Chapter 16
Chapter 23
Apr. 5, 7
The Milky Way Galaxy (continued)

Apr. 12, 14
External Galaxies
Chapter 17
Chapter 24.1-.3, 25.1-.3
Apr. 19, 21
External Galaxies (continued)

Apr. 26, 28
Active Galactic Nuclei Chapter 19
Chapter 24.4-.5, 25.4
May 3, 5
Large Scale Structure in the Universe
Chapters 18
Chapters 25.5, 26
May 10, 12
Chapters 20, 21
Chapters 26, 27

Recommended Text:
Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics, 4th edition, by Zeilik and Gregory.  (ZG in above table)
Astronomy Today Vol. II, Stars and Galaxies, 7th edition, by Chaisson and McMillan (CM above)

          You need to buy one of these two texts -- if you  have a strong physical science background, then the
          Zeilik and Gregory book is best.  If you are not a science/technical major then the Chaisson and McMillian
          is best.

Final course grades will be based upon 2 exams, a cumulative final exam, and class participation during in-class exercises.

Exam 1
Exam 2
Informal Class Writing
Final Exam
Course Writing Project

In-class writing will be done every other week, usually in the last half of class, and will be turned in at the end of that class.  The topics will vary from "what did I learn in class today?" to expressing your opinions about astronomy related public policy issues.  Grammar and spelling are important, but more important is how clearly you express yourself and your ideas.

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

less than 55%

Contacting Me
The best way is by e-mail, since I don't check my voice mail very often.  Coming to office hours is also good, and any time my door is open, please come in.

Attendance is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged.  If you miss an informal writing exercise, then you receive zero
points for it, which will be reflected in your course grade.

Make up Exams:
I will announce exam dates at least 2 weeks in advance of the exam.  If you have a conflicting activity that cannot be rescheduled, you must see me at least 2 days before the exam. If you don't, there will be no opportunity to make it up. You must bring me documentation of your conflicting activity (i.e. if you have jury duty that day, show me the form they sent you.  If you have a brain transplant scheduled, bring me a note from the surgeon).

Algebra is required in this course.  I plan the exams so that you cannot get an A if you get all the math problems wrong.  However, if you get every math problem wrong, but get everything else right, you can still get a B

Calculators are allowed on the exams.  Smart phones, flip phones or other devices with math functions are not allowed.

Cell phone:
Please turn your cell phone to vibrate before class starts.  Cell phones that ring in the middle of class are disrespectful to your fellow students, and to me.  If your cell phone goes off in class and it is a call you must take, please go into the hallway to answer it.

The faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy do not tolerate academic dishonesty. Falsification of data,
copying, unauthorized collaborations, plagiarism,
alteration of graded materials or other actions (as described in,
but not necessarily
limited to the CSUS Policy Manual) will be promptly reported to the Office of Student
Affairs. The offending student will be penalized on the assignment in question.  Serious infractions will result in course
failure and a recommendation for administrative

Anyone caught plagiarizing on their course writing assignment will fail this course. You can find more information
on plagiarism and how to avoid it by going to the CSUS library web site and clicking on the "Plagiarism Information" link.

Students with disabilities:
Please see me before the end of the first week of class.

Chris Taylor :  ctaylor (at)