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Introduction to Astronomy: Homework

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Scholars Online Astronomy - Introduction
Course Assignments Overview

This homework page has some extra introductory material to help you get started.

Organizing your Work

The following list gives you a general idea of each task you need to complete for our meetings. You may want to copy it to another file or spreadsheet to help you keep track of your assignment completion.

  • To prepare for the next chat session:
    1. ____Check the homework page on the course content site for reading assignments, weblecture links, study activities, optional web reading
    2. ____Read the textbook sections assigned, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    3. ____Read the web lecture posted by the teacher, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    4. ____Complete the mastery exercises for the section as far as you can.
    5. ____Complete the study activity.
    6. ____Write your answer to the question assigned to you in the forum
    7. ____Study the lab assignment and make note of any questions you have on performing the lab; be sure to ask these in chat or email the instructor
    8. ____Attend chat and ask your questions, defend your forum essay, and participate in the discussion
    9. ____Finish any mastery exercise questions you didn't complete before chat.
    10. ____Perform the lab, write and submit your report.
  • After completing a chapter in the text (check Moodle for due dates)
    1. ____Complete the mastery exercises and achieve 85% or better
    2. ____Take the Moodle Chapter Quiz: note these have limited availability dates and plan accordingly!
    3. ____Perform the assigned lab, analyze your data, and post your lab report by the due date

Getting to know the textbook

Reading about science, and reading a science textbook, require a different set of skills those you might use to read a novel or even a history textbook. Besides text information which is common to all of these, science textbooks include diagrams, graphs, tables and other means of presenting numerical information or process steps that must follow a given order. They also include mathematical formula, and often notes on how to use the formula or other scientific concepts in practical application. As you read, you not only need to take notes the way you might take notes for a history text, but you also need to study diagrams and work through example problems.

Take the time to become familiar with your textbook.


Reading Preparation

Reading assignment: Read through the Student Survival Guide for Scholars Online Astronomy Course

Web Lecture

Read the following weblecture before chat: Introduction to the Study of Astronomy

Study Activity

Stellarium Program and UNL Software:

If you have not already done so, download and install the two software packages described on the course Texts page.

Copy the Stellarium User Guide to your computer (PDF download). Be sure that you can start Stellarium, then look at chapter 3, "A First Tour". Work through the instructions for setting up and doing "time travel" and moving around the sky. Then follow the instructions in chapter 4 for configuring Stellarium for your location and the dates you want to observe.

Other Planetarium Programs:

These programs are not required, but if you want something a little more powerful than Stellarium, you may find them useful.

  • Starry Night High School Browser-based Homeschool Edition is available from the Simulation Curriculum website for about $50.
  • Sky Safari 6 Pro for MacOS is similar to the educational edition of Starry Night, and slightly cheaper (about $40).
  • Starry Night Pro is much more expensive, but it can also drive a telescope if you have one with an electronic drive.

Alternatively, you can get iPad or Android versions of these programs for somewhat less cost, but they are more difficult to use on a tablet, and you may have to jump through more hoops to print sky maps for observing.

Chat Preparation Activities

  • Essay question: The Moodle forum for the session will assign a specific study question for you to prepare for chat. You need to read this question and post your answer before chat starts for this session.
  • Mastery Exercise: The Moodle Mastery exercise for the chapter will contain sections related to our chat topic. Try to complete these before the chat starts, so that you can ask questions.

Chapter Quiz

  • Required: Complete the Astronomy Pre-Quiz to see how much you already know about astronomy.

Lab Work

Read through the lab for this week; bring questions to chat on any aspect of the lab, whether you intend not perform it or not. If you decide to perform the lab, be sure to submit your report by the posted due date.