Astro 28C - Schedule and Syllabus

Wednesday 3/23:
5:30pm - Meet in room 705 and the Planetarium. Distribute maps, discuss car pooling, explain what to bring. Explain grazing occultations and watch a graze on computer. Then migrate to the planetarium for lectures and slides on star formation, planet formation, the origin of the Earth and moon system.

Friday 3/25
~5:30pm. Arrive as soon as you can. Fred Miles will already be there and secured our campsites. He'll have an RV and should have his telescope set up. Get your dinner on the road (Dr Rick recommends Subway $5 footlong vege delites!). We'll set up our scopes and hopefully by the time darkness arrives at ~8:15pm, examine the star forming regions of Gemini, Monoceros, and the Orion Spiral Arm. We'll also demonstrate astrophotography. We'll be up til midnight. If we have clouds, we'll gather round a campfire and I'll do lectures on the evolution of stars.

Saturday 3/26
7:00am - Dawn. Optional walk to photograph sunrise over the El Paso Mountains.

7:30am We'll begin preparing a breakfast of French crepes and fruit. Plan to be done and packed up ready for our adventures by 10:15am. Pack lunch goodies.

10:15am We have a Native American rock art expert with us and hopefully we'll be able to visit a petroglyph site to examine, perhaps close enough to camp for a walk. Our main event will be a drive into the back country of the Park northeast of the campground. In the past, these roads have been fine for ordinary cars. We'll have "micro lectures" along the way, and I'll distribute learning materials on the planetary evolution processes in general, California in particular, and the western Basin and Range Province which characterizes Red Rock Canyon. We'll explore old mines (for gold! and kitchen cleanser too), see the abodes of crusty old timers of long gone mining days. We'll stop often and examine the rocks, faults, and topography for our lectures

~4pm return to camp. A little down time, and then I'll begin preparing dinner - Asian rice a'la Nolthenius. Around dinner, we'll make plans for the graze. Basic plan is to have my station, and a student station, with the class roughly split between the two stations. They'll be just a few hundred yards apart. Who will observe, who will man the timing equipment are decisions to ponder.

7:20pm - Short trail hike to the ridge above camp, to watch beautiful sunset colors fade towards night, and to see Mercury at it's absolute BEST moment for all of 2011 - in the twilight sky.

8pm. Darkness and we'll resume our explorations of the night sky - examinations of star clusters, and galaxies of the Ursa Major cluster. Galaxy types, galaxy evolution will be the subject of the around-the-scope lectures. We'll turn in early so we can get some sleep before the Big Graze which happens at 5:17am.

Sunday 3/27
3am: Wake up, dress, ready to roll the ~4 miles to our graze site

4am: Be setting up our two graze stations

5am: Ready to observe. The graze is 5:15:00 to 5:19:00am for recorders on and focused observations. We'll then rendezvous right after and discuss what we got and make sure to make any last minute notes and measurements and photographs, then drive back to camp for another couple hours of sleep.

8am: I'll get up to begin prep for breakfast - eggs and fried potatoes with spices.

10am: final lecture on the hilltop above camp

11am: pack up and head home.

Your grade will be 25% based on your full participation at all sessions, including "micro-lectures" at each location during Saturday, and your work at the lunar graze Sunday early morning. 75% of your grade will be based on a take-home final exam, which will have short essay and multiple choice sections covering all aspects of the material. You should mail in your final exam to "Rick Nolthenius, Dept of Astronomy, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA 95003" or deliver it by hand to the NAS division office Rm 701, who will put it in my mailbox.

Grading Scale
80% .......A
70% .......B
60% .......C or "Pass"
50%....... D
less than 50% is a failing grade

Student Learner Outcomes
1. Apply scientific observation and methods to understand unique astronomical events and opportunities.
2. Identify, classify, and quantify sources of observational error, including random and systematic error sources in student observations.
3. Discriminate between planetary processes at work on the moon, comets, and asteroids, and determine why these may differ from those on Earth by observations in the field in a geologic setting.