Grading Process

Half of the course grade will be determined by your night-time observing at Standeford Observatory.

Let me say that again:


There will be three in-class tests. Each test is worth 10% of the final grade.

The Final Exam will count 20% of the final grade.

The following is an approximate grading scale:

                    85-100% -> A
                    70- 84% -> B
                    60- 69% -> C
                    50- 59% -> D
                     0- 49% -> F
The actual scale will not be harsher than this.

Observing points are awarded for finding and identifying a set of 41 objects with the telescopes at Standeford. Each object can be identified on up to three seperate nights for credit.

The objects are distributed across the region of the sky that will be visible over the course of the observing season (6 September through 22 November). In order to observe the entire list you will need to go down to the observatory on as many clear nights as possible througout the entire season. Keep in mind that it is often cloudy in November.

Standeford Observatory is located at the south end of campus, in the forest about 400 yards south of the Gage parking area. When you come to the observatory you may wish to use the Buddy System -- walking in groups of three or more. Alternatively, you may contact University Security (389-2111) for a walking escort; however, there may be a delay in providing the escort depending on other activities on campus. DO NOT DRIVE PAST THE OBSERVATORY GATE! You may want to look at the MAP.

We will try to staff the Observatory on CLEAR evenings (not cloudy ones), MTWH, initially from 8:30PM until 10:30PM. Starting and closing times will vary with the time of sunset, the weather, and the state of our departmental funds. You may call the Observatory at 389-6208 to inquire about sky conditions or to find out if an observing assistant is there. A sign by the gate will indicate whether the Observatory is open or closed each night. The Observatory season will be from September 6 through November 22, depending on the weather.

To get your observing points do the following:

Recall that you can get points for the same object on up to three nights (but not more than once in any given night).

Object lists will be distributed in class.

In addition to observing, the course is concerned with understanding the sky, the motions of objects in the sky, astronomical timekeeping and the optics and design of telescopes. The lecture component of the course will concern these as well as the material on constellations and the location of astronomical objects. The tests will address this material.