Astronomy 104, Spring 2015, Sections 1-2-3-4.

These are introductory courses to astronomy, with more emphasis on active thinking than memorizing facts. The main points of this course are (1) a general understanding of astronomy, (2) what can be observed in the sky, (3) the Solar System in 103 / the stars and the Universe in 104.


Test 1 grades are up!
Look at the posted solutions.

In all classes and for all tests,

students need a new scantron # 16485,

one scantron for each class.

What's up in the sky?

The Sun.
There are quite a few sunspots now!

Full Moon: Feb. 3, Last Quarter: Feb. 12,

New Moon: Feb. 18, First Quarter: Feb. 25.


Uranus is observable only right after sunset in Pisces, but looks little (3.7 as) and faint (5.7 mg) in the telescope.

Jupiter is up at 7pm, and it is great in a telescope.



1. Philae, a space probe off the Rosetta spacecraft,

has landed on comet Churiumov-Gerasimenko after bouncing up twice.

It seems it landed in a hole, and hybernating for lack of power.

An important result of the mission: Earth's water did not originate in comets.

2 The ALMA radio telescope array reveals a super-high resolution image of planet formation.

3. Meteor impact carve new craters on Mars.

4. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is shrinking and fading?

5. J0159+0033, a 19-mg quasar in Cetus, has faded 2 mg in ten years.

Its accretion disk is now depleted: it is switching off!


Unusual events and objects

(Students might want to ask help in how to use the coordinates, ephemerids and finder charts.)

Comet C2014/Q2 (Lovejoy) is 5 mg in Andromeda, up early night.

Look at some pretty pictures of this comet!

For observation, a pair of binoculars would be needed. Use the star chart in the article in the link.