Astronomy 104, Spring 2017, Sections 5-6-7-8.

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.

Pass/fail test will be on March 7 as planned, but regular Test 2 will have to be rescheduled.
Test 1 has now been graded.

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: Feb. 5, Full Moon: Feb. 10,

Last Quarter: Feb. 18, New Moon: Feb. 26.


Venus , half-moon shape, sets early. As great as it ever gets!

Jupiter rises late night.

Uranus and Mars set early; these two look tiny in the telescope at this time.



1. Proxima Centauri, the closest star, has a planet.

2. Titan's (Saturn's largest moon's) rivers and channels are filled with liquid.

3. Important discovery: LIGO finally detecting gravitational waves from coalescing pair of black holes!

4. The New Horizon mission to Pluto keeps discovering surprises. Here is a list of the top ten explained.



A solar flare came inches from starting starting Word War III in 1967.


Unusual events and objects

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