Course Information

Times and Locations

  • Classroom: Room 7, Bryant Space Science Center (downstairs from main entrance)
  • Section 0466 meets Tuesdays, per 4 - 5 (10:40 am - 12:35 pm)
  • Section 0470 meets Wednesdays, per 6 - 7 (12:50 pm - 2:45 pm)
  • See syllabus (links at right) for office hours & other details

Course Objectives

AST-1022L Astronomy Laboratory counts for one (1) credit of Physical Science (P) towards the General Education requirement. It introduces students to the scientific method as applied to the field of Astronomy. The students are introduced to the process of making astronomical observations; quantitatively analyzing these observations; extracting information about astronomical bodies such as the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies; and understanding the basic physical processes that take place in these bodies. The students will also be introduced to the process of writing a report on the experiment, communicating the details, results, and conclusions to a reader not necessarily familiar with the experiment.

Physical Science (P) Statement

Physical Science courses provide instruction in the basic concepts, theories and terms of the scientific method in the context of the physical sciences. Courses focus on major scientific developments and their impacts on society, science and the environment, and the relevant processes that govern physical systems. Students will formulate empirically-testable hypotheses derived from the study of physical processes, apply logical reasoning skills through scientific criticism and argument, and apply techniques of discovery and critical thinking to evaluate outcomes of experiments.

General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

Students demonstrate competence in the terminology, concepts, methodologies and theories used within Astronomy.

Students communicate knowledge, ideas, and reasoning clearly and effectively in written or oral forms appropriate to Astronomy.

Students analyze information carefully and logically from multiple perspectives, using discipline specific methods, and develop reasoned solutions to problems.

Course Evaluations

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing online evaluations (see "Evaluate me and my course!"). Students will be notified when evalutions are open and closed, typically during the last 2-3 weeks of the semester. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Tentative Night Lab Schedule

Select Mondays between 8:00 & 11:00 PM; TBA no later than the preceding business week

Observe the Moon (Lab #14): October 10 - done
Section 0466 - 8:35 to 9:15 PM
Section 0470 - 9:15 to 9:55 PM
Observe the Deep Sky (Lab #15): October 24
Section 0466 - 8:55 to 9:30 PM
Section 0470 - 9:30 to 10:05 PM
Observe the Planets (Lab #16): Sept 12 Sept 19
Lab will be dropped, & remaining 2 weighted more heavily.
Planets have set & no others will rise until next semester.
*Make-Up Session - Deep Sky: Tuesday, Sept 27
For students with schedule conflicts or other excused absences.
Bring appropriate documentation!
*Make-Up Session - Observe the Moon/Deep Sky: Tuesday, November 8
Moon - arrive at 7:30 PM
Deep Sky - uncertain, but plan to arrive at 8:00 PM

There will be no slideshow introductions, quizzes, or formal lab reports for these labs. However, each section gets only 30-45 min to observe and 4 sections' worth of students will be present, so you MUST read the experiment before you come and you MUST arrive ON TIME. If anyone has a scheduling conflict, please contact me beforehand so I can arrange for you to observe with another section. If you miss the time slot for your section unexpectedly, the instructors and students of the other sections may not be able to accommodate you. Cancellations will be announced by 7:00 PM, so if you haven't seen a cancellation message by then and it's not storming, you must come to the CTO. Lastly, bring bug spray. I cannot emphasize this enough. You may see what looks like smoke rising from the trees behind the CTO at sunset; it's all mosquitoes. Don't forget to spray your clothes, too, because mosquitoes can also bite through fabric.

PowerPoint Lab Introductions

In PDF format

Labs in bold text will have associated formal lab reports, and starred labs will be combined into double formal labs. Formal lab report format and guidelines will be covered briefly at the end of the first lab, but a more detailed description of my expectations is posted at right under "Course References." The labs for weeks 6 and 7 will be combined into a single formal lab report, as will the labs for weeks 4 and 5. The extensive guidelines for both these double-formal labs can be found in your manual. For the other labs, you are still expected to turn in all raw data, calculations, graphs, and answers to any questions posed to you on the worksheets or in your lab manual, especially those listed under "Your Report," unless told otherwise. Data in all labs must also be reported with the correct units, to the correct significant figures unless otherwise specified, and graphs must be properly labeled with the independent variable on the horizontal axis and the dependent variable on the vertical axis.

Note: due to the problems previous classes have had trying to view these slideshows in their original format, the versions posted here are PDFs. Unfortunately, this means that the animated gifs you see in class will not work (all the more reason to be here for the actual labs).

Starry Night!

Friday, November 4th, 6:00 to 10:00 PM

Florida Museum of Natural History

This is optional, but if you are interested in astronomy or don't know what to do with your Friday night on 11/4, come to the FL Museum of Natural History at the time listed for a night of revelry in all things cosmic. We'll have telescopes, planetarium shows, dinner by starlight, art, prizes, a Xenomorph kissing booth (OK, maybe not that last one), generally lots of learning cleverly disguised as a space-based soiree.

Sample Lab Report

With brief critique

The sample lab is close to this class's expected level of performance, but misses 2 details: the author did not use proper significant figures and did not even hint at an appendix of raw data or sample calculations. It should be fairly self-explanatory what raw data looks like. The strongest points of the generic sample are mostly in its introduction, conclusion, and overall writing style. It is short, simple, to-the-point, and unpretentious. Despite what professional-level science journals may lead you to believe, this is how scientific writing strives to be (it just gets very hard and long-winded to avoid the jargon at the higher levels). Dryness is neither mandatory nor preferred, but it takes practice to avoid, so don't worry about it for now.