This page is here to help those who are taking or revising our introductory Astronomy course intended for anyone with an interest in the subject. You can read an earlier version of the introductory course handout (pdf file) that includes the course contents. The 'overhead summaries' referred to in the list below are .pdf files each containing 6 overheads per page. They can be viewed using Acrobat equivalent software and printed on a postscript printer. The slides are also in pdf files and can be printed in colour, if required, but see further comments on printing slides. The blue panel contains a wide range of supplementary pieces that you can dip into.
Our essential guidance is a 'must read' for all who want to score well in their courses.
by John S, Reid
The theme of the course is based on 10 chapters of Theo Koupelis and Karl Kuhn's In Quest of the Universe but the course does not track the textbook in detail. For the convenience of students, overheads and notes can be read here, or copied as a revision aid. These aids weren't intended to be explanatory by themselves, only helpful in conjunction with the lectures and the diagrams in the course text.
***** All lecture files are translated into pdf format. To see the animations in the embedded 'movies', you need to come to the lectures, or run them from a CD or the publisher's web page.
Students wishing to print these files, including the 6-to-a-page summaries, must first click on the link and open the underlying pdf file with the Acrobat reader. Print from within the reader. The summary files are in black & white for greater clarity and cheapness of printing.
The notes represent the author's personal views and are his guide as to what can be said in the lectures. They are not read out verbatim.
What's in the sky?
Identifying constellations and individual stars in the sky is a real problem, not only for beginners but even for some of the more experienced, especially if there is cloud around. I should say 'used to be a real problem' for now all you have to do is download the free app 'Google sky map' into your Android smart-phone and hold the phone up in the direction you are looking in. The constellations in front of you are shown on the phone and the brighter stars identified. The app even identifies the planets. I use an old smart-phone that hasn't a sim card in it just for this. I believe there is an equivalent 'StarMap' application for the iPhone: see the '15 Best Astronomy Applications for the iPhone', but I haven't any experience of them.
If you're wondering what to look at in the night sky, there are lots of books listing interesting objects. However, the Loughton Astronomical Society have produced a list of objects that can be seen in suburban skies with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars. Each object gets a page describing where to find it and what it's about. You can download this list as a pdf. Which of their objects are visible at the moment can be seen on the star chart on their list web-page.
If you fancy taking part in some real modern astronomy (I'm not kidding) then login to the Zooniverse web site. They have projects in astronomy, climate science, natural history, health science and the humanities. Zooniverse isn't your only chance. Try Solarstormwatch to help locate coronal mass ejections from the Sun among 6 solar related activities based on images from the Stereo spacecrafts. Over 16,000 people have assisted.
Astronomy as a discipline has embraced the World Wide Web. A list of useful links is given here. These quickly lead to a great many more sites that will keep you in touch with astronomy NOW.
|Kepler's laws of motion(1) (2)||Kepler's 2nd law(1) (2)||Haley's comet||Stellar parallax(1)||Stellar parallax (2)||Proper motion|
|Explore the fixed stars||Altitude of celestial pole||Celestial coordinates and motion||Current phase of Moon||Lunar phases (1) Lunar phases (2)||Inverse square law|
|Solar system today||Solar system live||Sky view cafe||Rotation of solar system moons||Mars retrograde motion||Epicycles|
|Simulation of eclipsing binary Algol||Doppler effect||Spectroscopic binaries||Eclipsing binaries||Binary star orbits||Orbit simulations|
|Blackbody radiation||Spectra of elements||Observing stellar spectra||Jupiter's moons now||Cepheid variables||Sun and Earth|
|The proton-proton chain||HR diagram stellar evolution||Influence of a moon on Saturn's rings||Redshift||Expanding universe||Colliding galaxies|
|Phase of the Moon prediction||Planet finder||Planetary orrery||Jupiter's satellites|
Page constructed by John S. Reid firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated Jun 2020