General Syllabus Physics 45400

General Syllabus

Physics 45400

Descriptive Astronomy


Other Materials:

A scientific, non graphing calculator


Course Description

Astronomy for science majors. Stellar astronomy, galactic astronomy,

cosmology, and earth and planetary science. Recent discoveries and topics

such as pulsars, black holes, radio astronomy, interstellar medium, radio

galaxies, quasars, spiral density waves in disc galaxies, black body radiation,

intelligent life beyond the earth. Lectures are supplemented by observations

and planetarium shows. Prereq.: PHYS 20800 (elective for Physics majors). 3

hr./wk.; 3 cr.


Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the broad developments in astronomy and astrophysics from ancient

times through the modern era.

2. Quantitatively work with the equations of celestial mechanics developed after

Kepler and Newton.

3. Describe the mechanisms and technology through which we observe the


4. Understand stellar structure and the basics of nucleosynthesis.

5. Model stellar evolution and interpret and create H-R diagrams.

6. Understand the various classes of stars and star formation.

7. Explain the basic make up and formation of our solar system and the different

objects contained.

8. Understand the nature of galaxies and galactic evolution.

9. Describe the basics of cosmology, large scale structure, and the early universe.

10. Solve quantitative problems related to the above topics.


Relationship of course to program outcomes:

Learn laws of physics and solve problems

Communicate by written and oral means

Work cooperatively with others

Use computers and appropriate technology


Math needed

The only prereq for this course is physics 208, which has a co-reg of Math 203, so all

the prior math knowledge expected will be at that level. However, as in any physics

class, we might need some additional tools. If so, we will cover them to the extent

needed. It should be noted that this will be a quantitative physics class (i.e. not just

naming the planets and stuff). However, it doesn't assume any physics greater than that

found in 207 & 208.


Academic Integrity

The university has a published policy on academic integrity that may be found at:…

Ignorance of this policy is no excuse. A student who cheats or plagiarizes may incur

academic and disciplinary penalties, including failing grades, suspensions, or expulsion.



Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend every class session of each course in which they are

enrolled and to be on time. The professor has the right to drop the student from the

course for excessive absences. For this course, two weeks of unexcused absences will

constitute an excess of absences. When a student is dropped from the course due to

excessive absences, the Registrar will enter the grade of WU.



Disability Statement

In compliance with CCNY policy and equal access laws, appropriate academic

accommodations are offered by the AccessAbility Center. Students who are registered

with the AccessAbility office and are entitled to specific accommodations must arrange

to have the Office notify the Professor in writing of their status at the beginning of the

semester. If specific accommodations are required for a test, students must present the

instructor with a form from the Accessibility Office at least one week prior to the test

date in order to receive their accommodations.


Course Schedule

Schedule is tentative and subject to change.