Spring 2012

Introductory Astronomy Laboratory


Textbook and Materials
For this course we will use our own manual: you are required to buy a printed copy of the manual at Target Copy, 635 W. Tennessee St., tel. 224-3007, for approximately $15 + tax ("Target Packet" AST1002L Astronomy Lab, Spring 2012, Myers, Berg). You will also need a 30 planisphere (a star chart that shows which stars are visible on a given night), a calculator and a flashlight.

Course Objective and Description
This course, which consists of outdoor and indoor labs, provides a hands-on introduction to astronomy as an observational science. In the outdoor labs you will learn how to make observations and measurements of planetary, stellar and galactic objects using either your unaided eyes, binoculars or a telescope. The indoor labs will acquaint you with the telescope, the coordinate system used to locate astronomical objects on the sky, the motion of objects in the sky and other basic concepts of astronomy. The schedule of labs for your section will be posted on the LABLOG webpage of the AST1002l website (see link below).We shall try to do as many outdoor labs as possible. Whether we do an indoor or an outdoor lab will be decided just before the scheduled time of the class. Hence you should bring the entire lab manual to class, so that you will be prepared for both possible labs, as will be specified in the LABLOG web page.

Co requisite: AST1002 or consent of instructor.

Time and Location of Classes
All labs take place during the scheduled evening class periods from 8pm to 10pm. For all labs we first meet in the classrooms of the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory (UPL) (Richards Building). The outdoor labs are then performed on the south side of the UPL building, with the following exception:

Dark Night Observation: For this lab we shall meet, as usual, in the UPL classrooms, then drive out of town to a site away from city lights where the sky is darker. The location will be announced in the classrooms.

Course Web Address
Follow the links: --> Undergrads --> Physics courses web page --> (Spring 2012) AST1002L.

Laboratory Reports
An essential part of each lab is the completed lab report, i.e., one of the indoor or outdoor labs in your lab manual that you have brought to class, and that you will then fill in during the class. (No report is required during the first week of classes.) Your report must include your name, your section number and the name of your laboratory instructor. Reports must be turned in before the end of each laboratory period, with the exception:  

At 9:50pm your laboratory instructor may choose to allow you to turn in the lab report by 5pm of the next day. These reports are to be deposited in the Astronomy box on the first floor of the Keen Building. 

Your total grade is calculated from the following contributions: 20%, based on mini-quizes towards the end of the class, 70% based on the lab reports, and 10% based on a final quiz on the use of the telescope. (The breakpoints for converting your total percentage grade to letter grade will be 90 A/A-, 87.5 A-/B+, 85 B+/B, 80 B/B-, etc.) You are required to attend all laboratory sessions and complete 11 labs, with reports

Attendance Policy
If you miss a lab, write your reason on this  permission slip, sign it, and give it to your instructor. If your instructor accepts your reason you will be able to make-up the lab at the end of the semester, when we shall schedule at most 2 make-up labs for this purpose. However, to make-up 2 labs requires the agreement of both your lab instructor and one of the faculty members in charge of this course. 

Warning: If you have 1 unexcused absence, your grade will be reduced by a full letter grade; 2 unexcused absences your grade will be reduced by 2 full letter grades

If you have 3 or more unexcused absences you will fail the course. 

Dr. Edmund Myers, Rm 115 Leroy Collins Research Lab (644-4040) , office hours: Wed. and Thurs. 12:00-1:00pm, or by appointment; Dr. Bernd Berg, Rm 615 Keen (644-6246) , office hours: Wed. 2:00-4:00pm and Thurs. 2:00pm-3.15pm, or by appointment.


Liberal Studies Program:
The Liberal Studies Program at Florida State University has been designed to provide a perspective on the qualities, accomplishments, and aspirations of human beings, the past and present civilizations we have created, and the natural and technological world we inhabit. This course has been approved as meeting the requirements for Liberal Studies Area V, Natural Science, and in combination with your other Liberal Studies courses, provides an important foundation for your lifelong quest for knowledge.

University Attendance policy:
Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

Academic Honor Policy:
The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University's expectations for the integrity of students' academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to " honest and truthful and ..[to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University." (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at

Americans with Disabilities Act:
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:
(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.
For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the:
Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way, 108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice), (850) 644-8504 (TDD)

Syllabus Change:
Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice.