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ASTR 1010

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at   
Credit Hours   3   
Course Title   Astronomy Of The Solar System   
Prerequisite(s)   Exit or exemption from Learning Support mathematics and exit or exemption from Learning Support reading or all ESL requirements except ENSL 0091   
Corequisite(s)   None Specified   
Catalog Description   
Astronomy from the early ideas of the cosmos to modern observational techniques.  The solar system planets, satellites and minor bodies are studied.  The origin and evolution of the solar system are studied.

Expected Educational Results   
As a result of completing this course, the student will be able to:
1. Identify the contributions made to astronomy by the following people: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton
2. Identify the phases of the Moon and their causes
3. Identify the causes of eclipses
4. Relate the historical development of man’s view of the universe from the Geocentric Model to modern interpretations
5. Identify the laws* which describe and govern planetary motion and qualitatively predict the implications of these laws; (*Kepler’s laws and Newton’s law of gravitation);
6. Describe and account for the physical properties of the Earth such as structure, surface features, and the composition and evolution of the atmosphere;
7. Describe the motions of the Earth and relate them to our system of time keeping (daily, monthly, seasonally, and yearly);
8. Compare and contrast the terrestrial and jovian planets including the following: interior structure, surface features, atmospheres, satellites and rings, magnetic fields;
9. Identify the planets based on their unique significant properties and describe those properties;

General Education Outcomes   

I.        This course has primary responsibility for general education outcome number six:

Recognize and apply scientific inquiry in a variety of settings.

It is intended that the course meets this objective in the following ways:

1. Any science class deals inherently with scientific inquiry, by the nature of the course.  This therefore, will be an underlying theme throughout the course.

II. Coverage of the above specific objectives will give direct instruction toward the general objectives: 1, 4, 5, 9

Course Content   
I. Introduction to an history of Astronomy
A. Our place in space
B. The motion of the Sun and Stars
C. Celestial coordinates
D. Eclipses
E. The scientific method
F. Ancient Astronomy
G. The motion of the planets
H. The geocentric Universe
I. The heliocentric model of the solar system
J. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
K. Newton’s Laws

II. The Planets
A. The overall layout of the solar system
B. Planetary properties
C. Comparative Planetology
D. The Earth and Moon in bulk
E. Lunar surface features
F. Earth’s atmosphere
G. Interiors
H. Magnetospheres
I. Surface activity
J. Lunar cratering
K. Origin of the Moon
L. Surfaces of Mercury, Venus and Mars
M. The Jovian planets in bulk
N. Jovian planet atmospheres
O. Moons and rings
P. Discovery of Pluto
Q. Pluto in bulk

III. Interplanetary Debris
A. Asteroids
B. Comets
C. Meteorites
D. Modeling the origin of the solar system

Assessment of Outcome Objectives   

1. The final course grade will be determined by the course instructor.  The instructor may use (but is not limited to) some or all of the following areas: unite tests, quizzes, homework, or special projects.  A final exam is required and must constitute no less than 25% of the course grade.
2. The final exam is to be comprehensive in nature.  It shall contain questions requiring students to write answers on the basis of the above objectives.


1. This course will be assessed every five years.  During the assessment quarter, the final exam shall consist of objective-type multiple choice questions.  Construction of these questions will be the responsibility of a college-wide astronomy faculty committee.  This committee will meet and review the course in the year prior to the assessment.  This review process will include re-evaluation of assessment instrument – the objective questions on the final exam, review of the quarterly departmental final exams, proposal and adoption of recommendations for curriculum modifications or changes, if necessary.


The results of the final exam questions will be summarized by the Department of Institutional Effectiveness.  The astronomy curriculum committee will meet to discuss the implications of the findings, and to make recommendations for the revision of the course where necessary.  A summary of this analysis along with a time table for implementation will be provided to the division dean.  A follow up report will indicate the success or failure on the implementation of the recommended changes.
Last Revised: Aug. 17, 2011
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