Astronomy 104, July 2015.

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.

Look up the Pluto mission below.

(They come up with new spectacular pictures every day!!)

All grades have been posted.

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!

First Quarter: June 24, Full Moon: July 2,

Last Quarter: July 8, New Moon: July 16.


Venus is observable after sunset, is very bright (-4 mg), half phase.

Jupiter is up early night, Saturn rises at 8:00 pm, both are great in a telescope.



The New Horizon mission flies by Pluto on July 14, Tuesday.

Click for NASA's real-time coverage!

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

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

Great news (June 18): Philae has just come back to life!!

1. The New Horizons space mission is to see Pluto from close for the first time. Read about Pluto's perplexing moon system.

2. The Dawn spacecraft spots two very bright spots on Ceres, probably ice deposits. Looks quite striking.

Click here for the image and explanation.

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.


Unusual events and objects

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