Earth Science 104
Introductory Astronomy: The Solar System
Ivers 166, 2:40-3:50p, MWF
Instructor: Dr. Paul Seifert
Office Hours: 1:20-2:40pm MWF
Campus Mail Box: #135
Text: The Cosmic Perspective: The Solar System, 5/E; Bennet, Donohue, Schneider, Voit
Lecture-Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy, 2/E; Prather, et. al. (bundled with textbook)
Earth Science 104 Lab packet (available at the bookstore).
Welcome to Earth Science 104. As the name suggests, the focus of this class is our Solar System and the things in it. Topics include celestial motions, orbits and gravity, the electromagnetic spectrum, spectroscopy, geology, and everything that lives or occupies space in the Solar System, from the tiniest dust particle to the big star in the middle.
You are expected to attend every class period. It is also a good idea to do the textbook reading before coming to class (there is always the possibility of short quizzes on it). This way, you have an introduction to the material to be covered in class, and have a chance to formulate questions based on it. Please show up to class on time. I may have important announcements for the class, and these will be done at the beginning of the period. If you miss a class, it will be your responsibility to get lecture notes or announcements from a classmate. Please turn off your cell phone. It is extremely rude to have it ringing in class. If you must have it on, use the silent buzzer, and take the call in the hallway.
At least once during the semester, we will be meeting at the Minnesota State University Moorhead Planetarium. The purpose of this visit is to illustrate certain things that simply can not be shown in a normal classroom. Because of this, it is extremely important to attend this class. Once again, there is a possibility of a quiz based on the visit. More information about this trip can be found on the course schedule, and will be handed out in class.
The Laboratory and Observations
Laboratory exercises are conducted in Ivers 120, and require a separate lab packet. The lab has two components: (1) indoor lab activities done during your scheduled lab time, and (2) observations to be done on your own time at the Concordia College Observatory. More details on both of these requirements will be discussed in your lab period.
The activities and observations are very important to your understanding of the course material. As such, you can not pass the course unless you pass the lab component.
Homework and Tests
There will be weekly homework assignments, due at the beginning of the class period on the date specified. No late homework will be accepted. The purpose of the homework is to enhance your learning of certain subjects, and to give you practical experience in some of the same activities the astronomers use. You are encouraged to work together on homework, but each student must turn in their own work.
Some of the activities from the lecture-tutorial workbook may also be assigned as homework, while some will be done during classtime. It is important to bring it with you every day.
We will have three tests, covering 3-4 chapters per test, given during the regular class period. There will be a final test, which will be comprehensive, but will include bits from anything we may have covered since the last regular season test. Each test will be closed-book. Only a scientific calculator and writing utensil are allowed. You will also not be able to share a calculator with classmates during the test.
See the course schedule for the dates of these exams. Also, you will
be required to take the final exam at the scheduled time for this period.
The only exceptions to this will be for those people who might have
three tests in one day, or with special permission from the
As mentioned above, no late homework will be accepted. If you know in advance you will be gone on a day when it is due, it must be turned in before you go. It is your responsibility to get the notes, homework assignments, or anything else you may have missed if you are absent.
Please turn off all cell phones, or at least set them to vibrate during class. Go ahead and answer it out in the hall during regular class time. Cell phones must be turned OFF during tests.
You may make up labs and tests, if you have a really good excuse. These include extended illness, family deaths, and school activities such as school-sanctioned sports or music activities. I may require documentation of any of this at my discretion. If you will be gone for an official school activity, you must inform me before the fact so that arrangements can be made as soon as possible, and tests must be taken before you leave. Make-ups will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Cheating is bad, in a big way. The policies of the college regarding
this are outlined in “Academic Integrity at
I encourage all of you to seek help if you need it. The earlier you do so, the better. My office hours are listed above, and my schedule is posted on my office door. I am generally there from 8:30-4:30 everyday, and my door is usually open (unless of course I’m in another class, meeting, or lab). The worst time to see me is the 15 minutes before class or around lunchtime, especially if it’s about homework due shortly.
Your final grade will be determined as follows: Homework (and quizzes) – 15%; Tests – 15% each; Final Test – 25%; Labs – 15%.
The final letter grade will be loosely based on the following scale:
93 – 100% A
90 – 92% A-
87 – 89% B+
83 – 86% B
80 – 82% B-
77 – 79% C+
73 – 76% C
70 – 72% C-
67 – 69% D+
63 – 66% D
60 – 62% D-
Under 60% F