Notes for Lecture 1
ASTR 10, Descriptive Astronomy (V0076)
Spring Semester, 2004
Instructor: Dr. Korpela


Important Announcements:

Details on Upcoming Dates:

The first Homework Assignment will be due in class January 29, 2004. If you don't yet have a text, much of the material required for Homework #1 is contained in the handouts, and the remainder can be found in the (different) online textbook at

Upcoming exams:

Last Thursday Night's Lecture:

Last night's lecture notes may be found here (powerpoint) or here (html). .

Last night I handed out the Course Syllabus, some general Policies, and "Hints on How to Succeed in a College Class" .

I also handed out several handouts.

Find out what the goals of last night's lecture were in the What Was Important notes. Some more details are found below.

We briefly discussed the nature of science, but will discuss more of that handout next week.

We discussed Scientific Notation and Units. In addition to the handout available here, the appendices of your textbook contains information on the metric system. We won't be doing much math at all, but if you are at any point worried about math, I have listed a few (random) math links here.

If you weren't around to see the Powers of 10 video, an online (somewhat different) version may be found here. Unanimated references on the Powers of Ten are at and A Question of Scale.

We attempted to create a scale model of the Solar System, to give you a sense of the scale of the objects in the universe. The solutions to this (graded) in-class activity are available here. For those who wanted to see how the scale models were constructed, or are just worried about converting from one set of units to another, I have given some sample calculations in the Unit Convertsion handout. I know this exercise was difficult for some people. I'll try to review some of the concepts next week.

We also adjusted the scale model to help us envision objects beyond our Solar System. Finally, we discussed (in brief), the history of the universe, and made a "cosmic calendar". Details of these topics are available in the handout on Scale Models and Cosmic Calendar.