FALL 2017

This information supplements the official course syllabus.

Updated 2017 September 18

Telescopes and binoculars may be checked out from the OSU Library!  Click here for details.

Students in this class have recommended two cellphone apps for stargazing:  Sky Map and Star Walk.

An excellent, adjustable, downloadable simulator of orbital motion is My Solar System.

  If you are considering purchasing a telescope, this link may be helpful.


Click here to download the FREE OpenStax Astronomy textbook used for this course.  PDF file size is about 42 megabytes.

Paper copies of the Syllabus are distributed in lecture the first week of class, while the Math Guide is distributed the second week, and the Planet Handout (ASTR 1013 only) the tenth week.  However, should you desire extra copies, click on the following links to download PDF files of the Syllabus, Math Guide, and Planet Handout (the last item for ASTR 1013 only). 

If you wish, you can also download PDF files of Sample Exam Questions and Lecture Topics for the entire semester, and a supplement on Relativity (ASTR 1023 only). 

You may click on the following links to get the seating assignment list and seat map for all tests this semester.  It will also be displayed in the lecture hall on test days


GRADED VOYAGER PROJECTS AND EXAMS:  Graded projects and exams will be distributed in class the first week after they were due or administered.  The papers will be arranged in alphabetized stacks at the front of the lecture hall.  If you don't retrieve yours in class, you must pick them up from the astronomy Teaching Assistants during their office hours or by appointment. 

VOYAGER HELP:  The astronomy Teaching Assistants can assist you with your Voyager 4 projects.  Visit them during their office hours below, or else schedule appointments by e-mail.  If you have questions about the grading of a particular project, the initials of the TA who graded it are written next to your score on the back of the front page, so you will know whom to ask.

ASTRONOMY TA OFFICE HOURS:  Office hours begin the second week of the semester.  They will not be held during breaks, holidays, and finals week.


E-mail address

Office hours in Kerr-Drummond mezzanine

Mr. Joshua Hall
M & W, 2–4 pm


Please refer to Section 4 in your Syllabus for complete information about doing your Voyager 4 Projects.

If a planet, path, etc. is visible on your monitor but not obvious on the printout, then change its color (as suggested in the first full paragraph on page 6 of your Voyager 4 project book).  Examples: in Project 7, when you are ready to print the Sky Charts, execute "Display / Colors..." and choose black for the paths of the Sun and planets.  In Project 14, execute "Display / Satellites and Spacecraft...", highlight the Giotto segments, and click on the colored square at top right to change the color to black.  Alternatively, just trace over hard-to-see paths with a pencil.

Project 23, page 194.  When executing the first command, at the top of the page, remember to select "Deep Sky Objects" from the pull-down menu in the Magnitude Limits dialog box before dragging both magnitude sliders to 15.

If you purchase a personal copy of Voyager 4 for your own computer, it must be version 4.5.7.  Go to to purchase it.  Also, you must use the same special "Startup file" as do the OSU lab computers.  To download a copy of it, click here.  To install it, (a) move the downloaded file to the same directory that contains the original Startup file on your computer, (b) rename the original Startup file as "StartupOLD", (c) rename the downloaded "Startup copy" file as "Startup", and (d) retain the file's ".vgr" extension for Windows, or delete it for Mac OS X.  If you then launch your copy of Voyager 4.5.7, it will open with a Stillwater location.

WARNING:  If you use your personal copy of Voyager to do your Projects, you do so at your own risk.  Leave yourself enough time to complete the Projects at one of the five computer labs listed in your Syllabus in case you encounter problems with your own equipment.


Optional sky viewings may be scheduled from time to time on campus or at OSU's observatory (see below).
  A convenient, dark spot for stargazing whenever you wish is the small, gravel parking area at Lake Carl Blackwell marked by the red rectangle on this mapNever go stargazing anywhere alone.

You may want to bring warm clothing, binoculars, a (red) flashlight, constellation charts, a blanket to sit on.  Please carpool—parking at the observatory is limited (six spaces)!  The drive from Koby Plaza (map below) takes about 15 minutes.  Drivers should check their spare tires.

Any cancellations will be announced in the Status line below by 5 pm on the scheduled date.

Status:  TBD

Where:  in the International Mall, between the Library and Noble Reseach Center

Meet at the Koby Plaza parking lot by its sign, 1/4 mile west of intersection of Sangre Road and West 6th Avenue (north side of road).  We will carpool to the observing site (about 15 minutes).


Rain date: 


Depart Koby Plaza no later than ____ pm.  The actual viewing will last about an hour.



Explanations of the terms used in your individual Test Reports...

Score:  This is set to be the same number as the Percent Correct.

Percent Correct:  The percentage of questions you answered correctly.

Class Average:  The average Percent Correct of the entire class.

Class Median:  Half the class scored above this Percent Correct, half scored below it.  Usually the Class Median and Class Average are very close.  However, if the Average is higher than the Median, that means a few individuals had very high scores.  If the Average is lower, then a few individuals had very low scores.

Percentile Ranking:  The percentage of the class that scored below you on the exam.

T-score:  Ignore this one!

Here is the histogram for the most recent exam.  It shows how you stand compared to everyone else on that one exam.  Go to Section 6, the next section, to see how you compare to everyone else on the basis of all exams and Voyager projects to date.


Here are the answer keys for the final exam (in invisible ink!):

Form A:       

Form B:    


This histogram shows the distribution of total points earned by students on coursework through Project __ and the __ exam.  The current maximum possible point total is marked by the rightmost "column" in the histogram.  The current "floors" for the various letter grades are shown in the graph, and they reflect the standards in the Syllabus scaled to the maximum number of points currently possible.  Individuals' course grades will be posted on SIS at the end of the semester.

To compute the points you earned on each exam or project, multiply your Percent Correct by the item's point value from the Syllabus.  Examples:

A score of 80% on a project worth 25 points yields 80% x 25 pts = 0.80 x 25 pts = 20 pts.

A score of 65% on an exam worth 150 points yields 65% x 150 pts = 0.65 x 150 pts = 97.5 pts.  The final exam is worth 300 points.

When you've completed eleven or twelve Projects, include only the top ten scores in your point total. learn the most & get the best grades, follow the Study Tips in Section 3 (Exams) of your syllabus!