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.


Grades are now all up to date as of 3/29, Sunday.
There was a computer error in the quiz grades. The last five quiz grades were given to the wrong students.

The error has now been corrected.

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!

Last Quarter: Mar. 13, New Moon: Mar. 20,

First Quarter: Mar. 27, Full Moon: Apr. 4.


Venus is observable only right after sunset, is very bright (-4 mg), but looks little (10 as) in the telescope.

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



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

Click here for the image and explanation.

2. 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.


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.