last revised 1/28/08

Astronomy 402
Between the Stars: The Interstellar Medium

Spring 2008

Format for Observing Proposals

Format For Observing Project Reports

Professor Karen B. Kwitter (
110 TPL

Observatory Supervisor
Dr. Steven P. Souza (
117 TPL
x3210 or x2165

Course Information:
Class meets Mondays and Thursdays from 1:10 - 2:25 PM.

There is no textbook; a compilation of readings bound into a booklet is available for which you can sign to have it added to your term bill ($15 for copying and binding). There will be a reserve shelf set up for the course in Schow; some required reading will come from these books. Finally, it will be helpful for you to have access to a quantitative general astronomy text; I have placed Kutner's "Astronomy: A Physical Perspective" on reserve.

Here are some useful links..

Course Structure:
The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion. There will be regular student presentations on the question of the week. These questions will be assigned either one or two class periods ahead of the day they will be discussed. On a rotating basis over the semester, each student will write a 2-3 page formal answer (plus citations and bibliography) to five questions. These papers will be presented to the class, also on a rotating basis. Papers will be graded on both substance and composition, and will be returned so that suggestions can be incorporated into future submissions. Students will need to go beyond the assigned readings to address many of these questions.

Course Syllabus

Other Course Activities:
Students (in groups) will carry out three observing projects during the semester and present the results to the class. These should be engaging, challenging, and fun! Finally, each student will write a 10-page paper on a topic related to the interstellar medium, and present it to the class.

Course grades will be calculated as follows:
30% from weekly question papers and presentations
30% from the observing project papers and presentations
20% from the hour exam
20% from the final paper and presentation.

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