AST 100: Astronomy Today

Fall 2017

M 4:00-4:53 PM, ESS 177

PREREQUISITES: None. Students who have taken any college-level astronomy classes are discouraged from taking AST 100.

INSTRUCTOR: James Lattimer, ESS 449, 2-8227,, Office Hours: TuTh 2:30 - 3:30; W 4:00 - 5:00

GRADING: In this course, students give one 20-minute presentation concerning a recent discovery or activity in astronomy. I have assigned presentation dates for each enrolled student. To prevent too many talks on the same topic, you have to reserve your topic in advance at least two weeks ahead of time. The presentation schedule is kept on this webpage, see below. There will be two presentations per week, starting September 18. Presentations count for 50% of your grade. Students will write short summaries and critiques of other students' presentations and submit them as assignments through Blackboard. Each summary is due before the class period following the talk. Late summaries are not accepted. These summaries count for 50% of your grade.

I will take the summaries, remove identifying information, and email them to the speaker for feedback to help their future presentations.

You should make your presentation as a powerpoint or adobe acrobat pdf file. If you wish to use my laptop, the presentation should be prepared as an adobe acrobat pdf file (in which case video clips probably can't be used). I cannot guarantee that powerpoint presentations will display properly with my laptop. If you want to make sure your presentation will work with our projector or my laptop, you should make arrangements to try it out well before the class meets (for example, during my office hours, or following another presentation). It is your responsibility to make sure your talk will project properly, and it will affect your grade if it does not. You can reduce the possibility of problems if you email it to me in advance as a pdf file.

Part of your grade is based on how well you keep to your time limit, the accuracy and quality of your presentation, and your contact with the audience during your talk. If you are asked questions during your talk, you will recieve additional time to compensate, but plan your talk to last between 16 and 20 minutes. Be prepared for a few questions during and following your talk, so be prepared to defend what you are presenting. While you answer questions following your talk, the next speaker will set up.

Grades for presentations and summaries will be posted on Blackboard.

Extra credit will be given if you submit information helpful to future speakers through the Discussion forum on Blackboard. Helpful information includes websites of relevance to the speaker's topic or questions you would like the speaker to address. Do not submit summaries to the Discussion forum.

PRESENTATION SCHEDULE: I have arbitrarily selected dates for each presentation. You can switch dates with another student if the two of you agree and provide me the new information at least 2 weeks in advance, unless you are talking on September 18. (I will need an email from both of you to confirm the change.) To reserve a topic, send an email to me. I will include the topics after the speakers' names as soon as I receive them. If you accidentally select a topic already chosen by another student, I will alert you to change your topic.

  • 28 Aug: Overview and assignment of presentation dates

  • 11 Sep: Introductory lecture about recent developments in astronomy

  • 18 Sep: Hadi Abedzadeh Marvian The Cassini Mission; Haowen Xiong Exoplanets

  • 25 Sep: Monica Anzalone Solar Flares; Yingzhe Hong Black Holes

  • 2 Oct: Zenia Bonilla Stellar Variability in the Pleiades; Devin Wolff Polarized Light From Stars

  • 9 Oct: Nandini Chatterjee Fast Radio Bursts; Niyat Teame The Trappist-1 Exoplanet System

  • 16 Oct: Anthony Chesser Meteors and Meteorites; Michael Taylor SpaceX

  • 23 Oct: Sydney Coleman Supernovae; Stephanie Sweeting The Plumes on Jupiter's Moon Europa

  • 30 Oct: Justin Bolusi Neutron Stars; Nicole Scartozzi Humans on Mars

  • 6 Nov: Giulia Gallo Super Earths; Kiana Louis Dwarf Planets

  • 13 Nov: Mohammad Ishtiaq Gravitational Waves; Mohammad Hassan The Asteroid Florence 3122

  • 20 Nov: NO MEETING

  • 27 Nov: Victor Hu The Expanding Universe; Shengxin Jin Kepler 452b

  • 4 Dec: reserve, no meeting currently scheduled