"If anyone ever asks you if you believe in
evolution, tell them no. You should not be
taking evolution on faith. Tell them you do
have confidence in evolution based upon
verifiable evidence drawn from reality."
Associate Professor of
Office: 91090 Center for the Sciences
You can find me in my office (91090 in the Center for the Sciences) Monday from 4-5pm, Tuesday from 12-2pm, and Wednesday from 6:10-8:30pm. Every other Monday I will also be in from 2pm-4pm. You can probably also find me there at other times so stop on by if you have a question. If you are here on Tuesday between 6-7pm try stopping by the astronomy lab room (CFS 92047) as I will probably be there early prepping the lab or letting students have more time to finish the lab.
The two viewing nights this semester will be 18th March and 15th May from sunset-ish until people get cold and tired (10:30pm-ish?). The two planetarium shows will be 4th March (6pm-8pm) and 10th May (7pm-9pm).
Final Exam Status as of 2013 Jun 06 17:14 - I have 1460/1460 (100%) pages graded as of this moment. Now all that is left is to get the data entered, the curve calculated, and the graded submitted. That *should* happen later today. The Honors student grades may be submitted a little later as I would like to go back over their final papers after the rest of the grades are done. I'm sorry that I missed graduation this year, but I figured that y'all didn't want hacking and coughing interfering with the ceremony.
2013 May 23 22:47 - The hero of the world that I mentioned in several classes was Vasili Arkhipov. Celebrate his birthday (30th of January) if you like not having your parents die in World War III caused by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
2013 May 21 18:33 - I will have extra office hours this week: Friday the 24th from 1pm-3pm [Update: also, Homework 5 for the 11:10am class has been posted.]
2013 May 20 12:59 - Correction: The problem-solving workshop will be the 22nd of May (not the 29th as was originally posted). My apologies for the error. It is corrected below.
2013 May 19 02:31 - With the exception of some e-mailed materials I should now be caught up! While I wait for some more gradings stuff to show up, here are a few links you might like: to several students I talked about a warp drive that may not be entirely science fiction. If you'd like a better idea how a lot of space astronomy manages to keep itself pointed in the right direction (here on Earth we push against the ground, but in space they use gyroscopes).
2013 May 18 11:08 - I've posted the Astronomy 2 notesheet for Lab 15. I'll provide any additional materials on Tuesday.
2013 May 17 12:53 - All the votes are in, and the it looks like the Problem-Solving Workshop will be next week, 29 22 May 2013, Wednesday from 8:00pm-9:30pm. As a warning, we may start a couple minutes after that so I can take care of another astronomy issue. So if I only *show up* at 8:00pm, don't worry. I'll be posting the solutions for Homework #4 sometime later today (along with the materials for Astronomy 2 Lab 15). [Update: Okay, I got the solutions for each Homework #4 posted, but I'll have to get the rest done tomorrow.]
2013 May 16 00:42 - Just in case you haven't heard of Chris Hadfield, recent commander of the International Space Station, he was the internet star of showing the world how life on the space station works. Here is his version of Bowie's Space Oddity. You can get to Hadfield's other videos from that link. Let me rephrase that. YOU GET TO HADFIELD'S OTHER VIDEOS FROM THERE.
2013 May 15 16: 23 - I'm during break so this will be quick. 1) We're going forward with the viewing night. 2) The possible times for the problem-solving workshop next week will be: Monday 5pm-6:30pm, Tuesday 11am-12:30pm, Wednesday 8pm-9:30pm, Thursday 12:30pm-2pm. To vote (deadline is by Friday) send me an e-mail with what class you are in and your name and as many times as you would be willing and able to come to. Out of those choices, we'll select the one that has the most votes and that will be when the problem-solving workshop will be NEXT WEEK.
2013 May 14 23:37 - The forecast continues to look good, so as far as I'm concerned we are a go for the Viewing Night on Wednesday. I hope to see you there. Also, I will be late with posting the Homework #4 solution for all classes. I'll try to get it up on Friday.
2013 May 12 22:44 - I am quietly confident that we'll be having our viewing night on Wednesday as the forecast says for 5% cloud cover all day. Well, except for 24% cloud cover around 11pm. Hmm... But that forecast is weird because there are no clouds listed on Thursday am. So I think we'll be okay. But I'll post more updates as I see them.
2013 May 11 18:56 - Okay. I *should* be caught up. I should have e-mailed with feedback everyone who has ever e-mailed me their work. I also finally have Lab 14 posted for the Astronomy 2 students. This lab can also be long, so if you'd like to get started, feel free. My apologies that this wasn't posted yesterday (Friday).
2013 May 08 19:36 - Irvin Rojas provided a link to this very cool "game." It is a game as long as you don't want to do the math (and even then for some of us). Basically, you get to design and launch your own rockets/space planes. It is very cool but, warning, you could spend a LOT of time playing it. Anyway, it is called Kerbal Space Program and it comes highly recommended. And a reminder: there is a planetarium show on Friday and a Viewing night next Wednesday.
2013 May 02 00:32 - I've received what I need to, so I've posted the midterm solutions. There are a total of six midterms, four listed in the Astronomy 1 folder (ABCD) and two listed in the Astronomy 1 Honors/12Week folders (EF).
2013 May 01 14:29 - Aaaaggghhhh!! Okay, my midterm solutions aren't here. I'll tell everyone what, when I get home tonight I'll post them. My apologies for that. Please also remember that I won't be able to have office hours later tonight (Wednesday). I'll make up those office hours later this semester (still check out the links. I still love watching the slinky one).
2013 Apr 30 13:30 - Random cool science thing. Check out what happens when you drop a slinky. Er, and have a slow-motion camera pointed at it. Physics! [Update: Office hours on this Wednesday (2013 May 1) have to be cancelled. My apologies and I'll see what I can do to add in an extra set of office hours sometime later this semester.]
2013 Apr 29 08:33 - I may not be able to have office hours on Wednesday evening of this week (May 1). Once I know for sure I'll post it. And again, check out the details posted here over the last two days. [Edit: I've slightly tweaked the text of Question 3 of the 15 weeks class's Homework #4. 3A should now read: First, what substance does the core of a massive star usually turn into by the time the supernova begins?]
2013 Apr 28 11:30 - Homework #4 is posted for the standard (15 week) Astronomy 1 class. It will be assigned later this week. Please also check out the list of links which I posted yesterday (below).
2013 Apr 27 00:27 - We've got more cool links to share (as I get caught up once again!). The first is a cool story about how we should finally be going to Europa. Thanks to April Henry for the story. A follow-up is this story posted at Keck Observatories. [Update: Also a while back was a cool link about lassoing asteroids. Check out this article submitted by Elizabeth Gipson. The main thing is, we need to be able to move asteroids in order to keep them from hitting us. And we *should* grab asteroids to put them into earth orbit so we can mine them. Remember that there shouldn't be anything wrong about polluting space so why not move our heavy industries up into orbit? I also got a cool article (which will be very relevant when we talk more about AGN) about a black hole eating a super-planet called a brown dwarf. Here is the middle-ground between stars and planets. I said that stars have fusion and planets don't. And that we need a certain temperature to get hydrogen fusion. But there are a couple of isotopes that fuse at lower temperatures than standard hydrogen. There aren't that much of those isotopes (2H and 3He) but an object can *technically* be massive enough to get the fusion of these going, but then the amounts of these disappear and the object stops fusing quickly. So there is a burst of early heat and then just cooldown and gravitational contraction afterwards. These objects are brown dwarfs. Scott Detweiler sent in a cool preview of Comet Ison. This fall, it should be spectacular. There is a library workshop on researching topics (evaluating which sources are good, how to cite, etc.) on 1st May 2013 from 11:30am-12:30pm at the reference desk in the new library. And so you know, I have uploaded the blank midterms (ABCDEF) to the class website. I'll be uploading the midterm solutions on Wednesday afternoon (around 2pm). Finally, if you are free on the 4th of May, please consider going to a local star party! I've put the PDF of Los Angeles City College's star party out under dark skies in the Astronomy 1 folder (it is called Oak Park). Please consider it!]
2013 Apr 23 21:58 - It looks like the class website is working again! We tried to see the International Space Station but I missed it but the website used to find it is here. Just click on the "go" button on the "Sighting Opportunities" section to the left. Then select the state (in case you go outside of CA) and then city (Woodland Hills is available) and it will tell you where, how long, and how high the space station will be.
2013 Apr 17 19:58 - On space.com I found an interesting discussion about planets around other stars (exoplanets) that some may be interested in. There is a video (~2hr long) of a panel discussion as well as three articles which grab the most important parts of the discussion. The video is here and article 1, article 2, and article 3 are linked here but if you would like to get a link to transcripts from a wider range of discussions, please consider going to Astrobiology Magazine's page on the whole exoplanet debate.
2013 Apr 12 11:08 - All Astronomy 2 documents are posted (but you only *need* one of the graphs) and for all astronomy classes, the astronomy tutor whose name is Noor can be found in CFS 92032 (the 2nd floor study room on the park side near the stairs). His hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 11:00am-12:30pm.
Midterm Grading - 760/760 pages done (100.00% complete). Again, while rumours of students getting flunked for writing "rotating around the sun" can neither be confirmed nor denied, such students would be very well served by figuring out what is going on before the final exam.
2013 Apr 11 23:49 - Astronomy 2 students: I have put up three of the four documents up online. I still have the graph paper left to post, but I will stop by Pierce on Friday and scan it and post it.
2013 Apr 07 21:47 - Okay, here are finally the big backlog of links I promised to deliver! First, Eli Skurskiy shared an update of a cool flash program called The Scale of the Universe. This is a good way to get an idea about just how big (and how small) various things in astronomy are! Very cool. Oswaldo Leiva has sent in a bunch of good YouTube videos (remember to open these links in a new tab/window). There are more Minute Physics videos out, and the six about the Universe will be quite useful in a couple more week. The first is something called Olber's Paradox. The basic point is that the night sky is dark. And that is an amazingly powerful observation that tells us some really important things about the Universe! Related are Minute Earth videos like this one about the history of our planet. Also coming recommended are the general science videos from vsauce. Those are a bit longer, but have cool videos like if we'll ever get to other stars. So thanks again to Oswaldo Leiva for the extra links. Noor Bundhoo also shares a recent bit of info about the nature of the Universe though studies of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Chris Lenz sent in a similar story, but through the New York Times. We'll definitely be talking about the Cosmic Microwave Background later in the semester. John Pilevar sent in a couple stories about our testing of the speed of light. It turns out that it might not be as constant as we think. Which would really mess up all our understaning of Einstein's relativity. We could only be so lucky, but we're still working on it. The difference between scientists and some others is that a scientist would love it if everything they knew was wrong! Science really is a journey, not a destination. If we found out we were wrong, we would have a chance to learn everything again! I remember being at a scientific conference as a student and hearing a couple of big-name astrophysicists chat with each other and one looked back fondly on the early 1990s when there we had little idea how galaxies form. The other agreed and in an annoyed voice groused that "today we have them all figured out." How many people do you know that would be okay with being wrong? Anyway, Kevin Kounce sent in this cool article on the latest Mars Curiosity rover results and what that means for life on/in Mars. The Universe out there, the Universe underneath our feet, it is all cool stuff. Here is something to leave you all with, which is another YouTube video about the size of various things. It has some nice graphics so compare things from the size of moons on up to the biggest stars. Enjoy. [Post in progress]
2013 Apr 06 10:10 - I'm finishing up the second half of my spring break (flying out, giving talks, flying back) and I have still have lots of articles to post before Monday, but here is one about astronomy and the beginning of life. If you have recently taken a biology class, you might be especially interested.
2013 Apr 01 15:12 - As I continue to grade, and as I continue to procrastinate my grading by watching TV, let me share the two programs I watched today: NOVA's Meteor Strike and Earth from Space. I'm linking to the main NOVA full episode streaming page, because as I've mentioned before, NOVA has great online resources on its programs. The next two episodes look cool, too. I recommend Meteor Strike for a lot more about the Russian meteor and meteors in general. And the two hour Earth from Space had all sorts of cool info on how satellites help us to understand Earth. If you thought NASA was only pointed upwards, think again. It is one thing to *know* what these satellites do. It is another to actually watch the data evolve in front of your eyes. Like for example, like watching the O2 and CO2 values "breathe" over the course of one day. And of seeing dust get blown from the Sahara over to the Amazon. To see fires happen across the planet over the course of a year. To watch updrafts create hurricanes. Or even things like watching the patterns of air travel like airplanes across the Atlantic heading west in the morning and east in the evening. And I'm not ashamed to say that my neighbors could hear squee noises coming from my house for the past couple hours. A new Doctor Who episode this weekend? Yeah, that was nice. But watching a volcano balloon outwards, and then once the lava has flowed out, the volcano shrinks back down...now that's cool. Also over spring break, I'd like to share with you a bunch of links sent in my students! I've been negligent on those as we got ready for midterms these past couple of weeks, but I plan to catch up!
2013 Mar 30 14:23 - Okay, both the Homework #1 solutions for the MW11:10 are uploaded. [Update: Okay! And both Homework #2 solutions are up too! As a little warning, expect Homework #3 assigned on the first day back from spring break. It will then be due one week later on the 15th and then we'll have the midterm on the 17th.]
2013 Mar 29 23:38 - I haven't yet started on the midterms (but they are at least sorted into the four different exams that were given). I'll get started on those 760 pages on Saturday. Today has been mostly clearing out the large backlog of extra credit and homework e-mails. I hope to be done early Saturday morning. Remember please that you can find out your grades on e-mailed materials by talking to me before/after class or in office hours.
2013 Mar 26 12:24 - <sigh> Well, even getting Prof. Shapiro to intercede with Zeus didn't work out, so I'm going to cancel the Viewing night tomorrow (Wednesday). We'll still have the one in May. If I don't see you this week, best wishes to everyone over Spring Break! I'll be putting up some more cool links during Spring Break (since Oswaldo Leiva and Timothy Barker have sent me interesting stuff).
2013 Mar 24 22:48 - I'm back from my sojourn in the desert (all great origin stories have one) and I checked the weather forecast for the viewing night on Wednesday and it looks 50-50. The forecast claims it *will* get clear by the end of the night (11pm-ish) but will be all kinds of cloudy beforehand. And I'm not sure many people will want to show up very late on the last day of class right before spring break. So I'm undecided. I'll post updates as I get them.
2013 Mar 22 07:46 - This is the earliest you'll ever see me make an update. Stupid mornings. Anyway, I'm away for the weekend, so sorry if anyone had any last minute questions. For those Astronomy 2 students who will be working on the Mercury section of the lab early, that picture is 292 kilometers by 225 kilometers. If you measure either side with a ruler you can find out how many millimeters each side is and get a map scale of mm/km. Then multiply by 4 kilometers to get the crater size you are supposed to measure (in mm) and count all craters of that size or greater.
2013 Mar 21 18:40 - <sigh> Okay, I've just been told I have to go to bureaucracy training and the only date is next Monday from 3pm-5pm. So I'll be available for office hours 1:30pm-3pm. Sorry about that. But in better news, the Viewing Night is still set for next Wednesday, and Weather Underground forecasts look promising!
2013 Mar 20 14:33 - I'm going to try for shifting the Viewing Night to next Wednesday (the 27th) from sunset-ish to late. It will be the last day of class before Spring Break, so I don't know if that will help or hurt the odds, but we'll try it. Now I just need Zeus to cooperate... [Update: I realized that I needed to mention to everyone that I will be out of town Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So I won't be able to respond to e-mails until I get back and sit down in front of my computer on Monday afternoon. But, I will have extended office hours on Monday if anyone has questions.]
2013 Mar 18 16:13 - I was walking a few minutes ago back to my office and I couldn't see blue and I could even stare at the sun for 2 long seconds before having to look away*. So I think I'm going to cancel the Viewing Night. I just don't see it improving. Now that I said that I bet Zeus is going to blow all the clouds away, but you can't win them all. I'm going to try and reschedule for next Monday or next Wednesday, and I'll have more info on that by the end of the week.
* Trained professsional. Don't try this at home, kids.
2013 Mar 17 14:02 - Well, the forecast has improved to only about 30% cloud cover. It will depend. Sometimes if there are thick clouds, only 30% is not bad. But many times 30% cover also includes some light haze which will destroy all but Jupiter and the moon. I'm going to plan on being there on Monday night, at least for the first part. But I'm nervous. [23:35 Update: <sigh> Now the forecast has 45% cloud cover all p.m. It isn't looking good for the Monday viewing night. If we have to cancel, I'll reschedule it (maybe the Monday or Wednesday night just before Spring Break). P.S. Rumours that I flunk students who mix up "rotate" and "revolve" on the exam are untrue and not to be believed. Those students merely wished that they flunked the class. :)]
2013 Mar 14 23:12 - The Problem Solving Workshop results are in (no thanks to the flat tire I got on the trip home; stupid goatheads) and the winning time is next Tuesday, 19th Mar 2013 from 1pm-2pm. The Astronomy Classroom will be busy during that time, so come to the Astronomy Lab Room (CFS92047). It is just around the corner (and adjacent to the planetarium/classroom). Also, please remember that the first viewing night will be Monday the 18th from sunset-ish to late (10:30pm? 11pm?). All are welcome (and feel free to bring anyone you like). Currently, the forecast at Weather Underground claims it will get cloudy just at sunset. So fine! Zeus and I will have a "discussion" and depending on whether I survive his godly wrath, the weather will improve (or not). I'll keep folks posted.
2013 Mar 12 11:44 - For news today, it is looking questionable for the viewing night next Monday (the 18th). Right now it looks like there will be a lot of cloud cover, but, that comes in half-way through Monday. It is certainly possible that over the course of five days the winds will slow and that storm system will arrive 12 hours later. So I'm still have hope. Also, please check out the coming library workshops. They will be 25th April from 1pm-2pm and 01st May from 11:30am-12:30pm in the New Pierce Library Classroom. They will be on researching topics and creating a list of sources, and all those things that help for research papers! [Comment: Ugh. I am probably going to be 5-10minutes late for the start of my office hours today (so maybe 12:05-12:10ish). I will be there as soon as I can. [Edit: I did get to the office at 12:10, so if anyone came before then, please contact me and I'll address all your questions.]]
2013 Mar 11 22:27 - Please check out the Center for Academic Success workshop listed below, but beyond that I would like to remind everyone that astronomers are not responsible for crime against humanity that is daylight saving time.
2013 Mar 10 15:32 - The Center for Academic Success runs a lot of workshops over the semester, so please check them out if you are having trouble with any of a variety of school-related issues. Follow the link and click on CAS Workshops for more details. Now for me, back to grading!
2013 Mar 03 22:42 - Well, no one found the error in the class website, so it has been fixed and no one grabs that point of extra credit. Maybe next semester... In the meantime check out the post from Saturday with the cool YouTube links. With the frames on this webpage, I recommend opening all links in new tabs/windows.
2013 Mar 02 11:19 - Here are a bunch of cool links to check out. I am still working on the Homework #1 solution, but it will be posted later today (Saturday). The first is from Prof. Joe Perret over in CAOT. It is the minute physics video of the size of the Universe. If you haven't seen the other Minute Physics videos, please check them out. I also have another video on getting an idea about the size of the Universe from the American Museum of Natural History submitted by Nathan Feinstein. Finally, Pierce College has an Astronomy Club starting up this semester, and the facebook group for it can be found here. [Edit: And now the Homework #1 Solution has been posted!]
2013 Feb 27 19:29 - Time for both apologies and general cool stuff. First of all, the W 2:45 class nailed me three times! I was wrong and the Curiosity rover is nuclear powered. Oops. Try clicking on the "More about radioisotope power" link and then down to Overview or RPS Technology for details on how it works (it is very much safer than other types of nuclear power). It doesn't give as much energy, but it is almost impossible for it to fail. Also, I was incorrect in the depth of the Soviet hole dug into the earth. It was only 12 kilometers not the 20+ km that I thought. I know there was something else I was wrong on, but it will have to wait until someone can remind me of it. But in its place, I have to pass along a cool app of the 3D structures of all sorts of NASA probes. It is called Spacecraft 3D and it looks like it is currently only for iphone, but there are lots of other apps that NASA does (as per NASA's featured app collection page). Remember, Homework #2 is due next week!
2013 Feb 26 11:46 - Homework #2 has been posted. I'm still working on the Homework #1 solution, and while I doubt it will be up today (Tuesday), it WILL be up later this week. [Edit: I'm going to be a little late to my Tuesday office hours (maybe 5-10min) because I went back and tweaked Homework #2. Sorry about that. If you downloaded Homework #2 after noon on Tuesday, then you are fine; you have the current version.]
2013 Feb 25 16:04 - I'll be posting Homework #2 sometime Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully around that time I'll also be posting the solution to Homework #1. First, a former student sent in this article about Newton in action. It helps to read Spanish, but instant translation is something the internet is good for. Regardless, compare foto 2 and foto 6. Also, I came across this cool (or warm) article about deep-sea vents (black smokers). This is great stuff because 1) they may be how life started on Earth, and 2) because they may exist on other worlds (like the moon Europa). The space.com article is pretty decent so please consider it. P.S. Never name your own vehicles like they named theirs. If you know mythology you'll figure out that the scientists were just begging for their robot to get annoyed as they were cruising home and destroy all the data they collected.
2013 Feb 22 15:46 - A small note that everyone should have gotten an e-mail about it, but just in case you see this post on Friday, there will be a talk at LA Valley College entitled "ET - The REAL Search". if you are interested, please check out their flier here and consider showing up there at 7:30pm. There are other talks later this semester which you can find on the flier too. There is a cost, but overall it isn't that much. Also, the astronomy lab for next week should now be posted and I'll be e-mailing feedback later this weekend to those who e-mailed their homeworks to me. [Edit: <sigh> the website has the old 2012 spring shows listed. I'll post the 2013 flier up in the astronomy lab room.]
2013 Feb 20 18:43 - Since no one has come to office hours yet, here is some more astronomy news! First, is here is another set of videos with comments from The Bad Astronomer himself, Phil Plait. Also here is a couple of science folks (including one Science Guy) talking about the asteroid that passed by as well as the one that exploded over Russia (and included discussion of how to defend against asteroids too; not to put too fine a spin on it but they are TRYING TO SAVE THE WORLD). The Planetary Society sponsored that latest talk and also helped me find an amusing poster by Neil DeGrass Tyson. An office hours note: I'll have extended office hours next week, but, I will be slightly delayed so my Monday hours will be from 2:30pm-5:00pm.
2013 Feb 17 21:51 - Please remember that there is no school (and thus no office hours) tomorrow, Monday the 18th due to the holiday: Presidents' Day (not the oft-suspected holiday Cheap Candy Day). I'll see everyone starting on Tuesday.
2013 Feb 16 12:07 - <sigh> I realized I hadn't posted the Astronomy 2 lab. Sorry for that. It is now up (with another picture to print out too). Please read the note on the first page of the lab before printing out anything. For the rest of the students, the lottery stuff follows, but also consider that you can help out astronomers by voting on what to name P4 and P5 (moons of Pluto) over at the SETI Institutes contest page. And did anyone else notice that Russia got whacked with an asteroid coincidentally just as the other one (Asteroid 2012 DA14) was passing by? If you are interested, a former student of mine sends in this article to tell more about it.
2013 Feb 15 10:50 - The Week 2 Lotteries are complete! Please remember I'll be in my office today (Friday) from 4pm-5pm ready to sign add slips. If the door from the outside is locked, knock on my window (you'll see all the astronomy stuff in it) and I'll come around and let you in. For those looking to add the new Monday 11:10am-12:35pm and Wednesday 11:10am-1:40pm class, it can be added in the normal way as an open class and the section number is 8017 and I'll see you on March 04! And for everyone, if you have spare time, Oh, one more thing. Remember that Homework #1 has been assigned for my currently meeting astronomy classes. Check out the facebook group listed below if you'd like a way to get in contact with other students.
A syllabus acknowledgement is required in order to get an add slip. If for some reason your name did not appear on this list (I think almost everyone got in), please e-mail me.
9:35am-11:00am - MW - Section 0702 - Jessica Barten, Karina Chavez, Andrea Lopez, Fiamma Ravina (but Elco Garcia and Dorrian Winton should come in and see me too)
2:45pm-5:55pm - W - Section 0714 - Jason Ciprian, Samantha Boucher Perry, Rubaie Jaffar, Tracy Munoz, Jake Waitley
2:45pm-5:55pm - R - Section 8161 - Jacqueline Gutierrez, Angela Monzon, Jose Morfin, Jonathan Nguyen, Jasmine Ortega, Stephen Scheerer
7:00pm-10:10pm - R - Section 3100 - Melisssa Carrillo, April Henry, Jacob Rad, Jordane Sozi
2:45pm-5:55pm - T - Section 0716 - All students added.
7:00pm-10:10pm - T - Section 3101 - All students added.
2013 Feb 14 11:33 - First of all, oops. Someone should have yelled at me to write 2013 instead of 2012. Anyway, first of all, on Friday we'll have the close passage of "Asteroid 2012 DA14". There are lots of good news articles on it, but honestly, copying what I wrote in quotes into your favorite search engine is your best bet. It is a cool reminder that we can't escape the effects of the outside world. Isolationism, either in political terms or in physical terms never works. In more local news, I'll be posting the second lottery results on Friday morning. I will then be in my office (CFS91090) from 4pm-5pm on Friday to sign add slips for those that wish to get theirs as soon as possible.
2013 Feb 10 18:25 - Everyone's Astronomy 1 Homework 1 has been posted. It won't be assigned until we meet later this week (Wednesday for the MW classes), and won't be due until next week (Week 3 at the start of class). But, if you'd like to get started early, please feel free (though some parts of the homework will be covered this week). To help with my recommendations that students get into study groups to work on the homework, here is the link to the facebook group for the semester. Request to join and I'll add you. One thing: if your facebook name and your Pierce College name are different, then I just need an e-mail with 1) which Astronomy 1 class you are in, 2) your Pierce College name, and 3) your facebook name. Then I'll know who is who and will add you. Finally, one of the astronomy majors found this cool article about various weird mysteries we haven't solved yet, and most of them are in astronomy! If you are curious, check it out.
2013 Feb 8 14:45 - I should have everything I promised for Friday done. The lottery results (using Random.org) are below, and the Astronomy 2 lab for Tuesday are posted. For the astronomy 2 lab, we're skipping ahead a week compared to the schedule in the syllabus. The plan is to get the Astronomy 1 Homework 1 (for both the regular and honors classes) posted sometime on Sunday even though it won't be assigned until later that week. But consider it a chance to get a head start on the homework. I'll also try to be next to my laptop through Sunday so to be able to get back to anyone quickly with regards to questions on which book to get or anything else.
Two things, the lottery results are given in alphabetical order, but I may have misspelled the name. If so, yell at me in an e-mail and I'll fix it. Two, this list DOES NOT contain the list of alternates. If someone from this list does not A) show up to class on time, and B) have their syllabus acknowledgment turned in, then their add slip goes to the next person in line. For example, Andrew De Sousa, Garrett Mullen, and Eli Skurskiy and the rest of the alternates will probably be eagerly waiting to see if anyone from their class's list doesn't show up. If someone from this list doesn't do requirement A or B, then those students can stay on the lottery list and participate in the lottery next week.
If any student still on the lottery list would like to know the odds in a different one of my Astronomy 1 classes, e-mail me and I'll let you know whether you should switch over.
9:35am-11:00am - MW - Section 0702 - Joe Christian, Jonathan Feeney, Genevieve Jackson, Dylan Johnson, Summer Kwezi, Octavio Maciel, Israel Medina, Eric Morin, Tuan Nguyen, Ricky Ponce, Erika Rodriquez, Conor Spadaro, R.J. de Torres, Fabiolo Torrez
2:45pm-5:55pm - W - Section 0714 - Aaron Avila, Samantha Boucher Perry, Brenda Castellanos, Jason Ciprian, Jessica Goldman, Aiesha Jones, Farid Kosaryan, Harim Rivera, Paula Rubin-Mullen, Alec Tejuco, Maritza Tribble, Ricardo Virrueta, Jake Waitley
2:45pm-5:55pm - R - Section 8161 - Arturo Amador, Ricardo Ayala, David Crotzer, Daniel Gallarza, Jacqueline Gutierrez, Beshoy Halim, Samiha Hamadi, Tatiana Henry, Brenden Kelly, Joseph Lightbourne, Kevin Mai, Svetlana Minassian, Jose Morfin, Jonathan Nguyen, Jasmine Ortega, Miguel de Sequera, Stephen Scheerer, Hanziah Shaikh, Sakifa Sultan, Aaron Wolford
7:00pm-10:10pm - R - Section 3100 - Melissa Carrillo, Fabiola Corcoran, Alex Herrera, Cathy Le, Nerly Lobos, Nofar Marom, Stephanie Miron, Crystal Moreno, Tina Nassoudi, Karen Romo, Gabriela Salcedo, Jordane Sozi
2:45pm-5:55pm - T - Section 0716 - Juan Jimenez, Juleni Rivera, Michael Shapiro, Nestor Vargas
7:00pm-10:10pm - T - Section 3101 - Jay Adams, Tess Burkhart, Behrang Mirzayi, Mileyka Ponce, Gita Taheri, Jonathan Vichaidit
Greetings. Welcome to Astronomy here at Pierce College. Apparently we all survived 21st December 2012! If you are disappointed, don't worry, humans will come up with some other excuse for their end-of-the-world theories. But if you are here for Astronomy documents (like the syllabus acknowledgement!), you can find all of the documents and other files for these courses by clicking on the course name in the upper left. All documents will be given in pdf format so as to remain as platform-independent as possible (in other words, it shouldn't matter if you are trying to access the website from a PC, a Mac, or a *nix box). The purpose of this website is to be a hub for astronomy resources. You are not required to visit every single site I link to from here, but if you'd like to know more about the Universe, this is a good place to start. The thing is, there are so many astronomy resources out there, I don't know them all, so if you find something that is cool and you'd like to share it with the class, then please send it to me and I'll post it. I'd like to have as many different kinds of resources available (text, pictures, video) because everyone learns differently and I would like to help you learn.
You might have seen the website as it was at the end of the previous semester, and I do tend to run it blog-style just by typing in updates to this area. Newest posts at the top, oldest on the bottom. I expect to have an update about once a week.
Video Resources: You may not know all of the astronomy/science related stuff that shows up on YouTube. I haven't been a big YouTube guy, but many of my colleagues are. Some possibilities are to look for The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (with Richard Feynman), Cosmos (with Carl Sagan), as well as stuff by Phil Plait (also known as the Bad Astronomer), biology material with the somewhat abrasive Richard Dawkins, or general science suff with Michael Shermer. Of course you could also go to YouTube for general science-y things like the music videos Golden Dawn and the LHC Rap.
Favorite Web Resources: The Astronomy Picture of the Day: (a.k.a. apod) which is one of the best places to go for general astronomy in my opinion. It isn't organized, but you can just hit the archive and search for your topic. Each day has both a pictures as well as paragraph written by a professional astronomer (with lots of links). In addition, a trick I like is a feature of google which lets me find out what a term means just by typing in "define: whatever." So let's say that I see the term "Dark Energy" and for some reason apod doesn't have a description or a link to it. I could just go to google and type in define: Dark Energy and I would get definitions. I know, I know, you could just type the term into google and the first link would be to the single greatest source of knowledge in human history, but this is less dangerous in terms of sucking your time away. You might also find Level 5 of some help. Warning: this source does go to an advanced level in some places. The most useful portion to starting students will be the Glossary and Lexicon if you want to find definitions for all sorts of astronomy stuff. The Commentaries section (and anything that has the word "Review" in the title) has useful essays on topics relating astronomy but browse through them to find the useful ones. You might also follow WEB Links and then go down to Astronomy Education and Public Outreach. Finally a good collector of science news online is through yahoo, so visit if you like. And of course, we can't forget the NASA website. Visit it.
Favorite TV Shows: The Universe which airs on the History Channel (and is available on the streaming side of Netflix). I think it is the best astronomy TV series currently running (Cosmos which I liked above is probably the best of all time, but some parts of it are getting outdated). In addition, this summer has been very good to astronomy on TV. Focusing on astronomy is Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe (a companion to his Wonders of the Solar System which has no great online links but this comes the closest). Each nicely links into both halves of the semester. I would also recommend Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, but you should know that it is more on the edge of what we know. If you are looking for a program to help you in the class with knowledge we covered then I would recommend Universe or Wonders. But if you want to know about the mysteries and the things that astronomers are currently banging their heads into a wall about, then check out Wormhole. However, my favorite science TV show has to be the geology program How the Earth Was Made though in terms of current updates in science go to NOVA (including NOVA Science NOW) and Nature. NOVA Science NOW is hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson and they have had some really cool episodes a couple of years back. And PBS is really good about uploading all their shows. If you want to mix your science with other pleasures I recommend Good Eats with Alton Brown . I mean it. It is good science. Oh, and I certainly don't want to dis theMythbusters.
If you'd like to help out scientists by having your computer do some work while you're not using it, you might want to download something from BOINC. Computer simulations take a lot of computer crunch to go through all the calculations. The more complex the simulation, the more time to finish everything. We need these simulations in order to figure out things like the consequences of global warming or how to make cancer fighting drugs, or even whether aliens are trying to talk to us. Pick the project that is most interesting to you, and help them out because it would take years for these scientists to do all this work themselves.
Favorite Mobile Apps: Original credit for suggestions on these apps goes to Alex Evans. So here (along with some of my comments) they are: The first I want to mention is a free one for my favorite astronomy website: the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I've always promoted the APoD, but this grabs them every day (and lets you look into the archive too). I should mention that you can grab these images through the NASA HD app (also free), but why not get both? Use the APoD app every day to get a little more astronomy, and use the NASA HD app for sitting down, browsing and just getting immersed. These next two cost ($2.99 each), but as these things go, they are very cheap for what they get you. These are the ones that I was blown away by: Star Walk and Solar Walk. Both of these essentially give you Pierce's planetarium itself. You can look through the planets of our solar system or the stars of our galaxy, let time pass by (and check out how *not* aligned we'll be on 21st December 2012), and check out the extra info you can get about all these objects. Without trying to be too dramatic, I am seriously considering getting an i-pad if just to get these two. I cannot see how someone would be disappointed by these two. The last set of these are more expensive because they contain more info (itunes defines them as books rather than educational), but you might also consider worth it. The first (and highest rated) is called SkySafari and it lets you look around through the sky and get info on whatever your device is "looking" at. That's not all it does, but from my perspective, isn't just that enough? There is also an app for more material about the Solar System which you might want to look at. If you are thinking about taking a chemistry class or just want to know more about the materials around us, then also take a look at a Periodic Table app. Oh, and one more. I did get a chance to see this earlier when it wasn't as cool. Now, the exoplanet app looks even smoother (and remains free!). If you want to know about the planets we are discovering around other stars, this is the place to go.
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. " - John F. Kennedy, 1962
This is college. Many things will be hard. But if something is easily done, where is the success? The task you face is not impossible, for there is no success in frustration. What remains is the striving and the challenge, and the ability to say that you did well, not okay, not so-so, but well.
Hint With Big Flashing Neon Sign
If you don't take anything else I say seriously, please think about this: education is what you make of it, not what happens to you. The number one way not to succeed in college is being a wallflower. Coming to class, sitting quietly, never asking a question, never answering a question. The people who raise their hands and give wrong answers do better (grade-wise!) in this class than those people who just sit there. Please don't let life pass you by. You have the ability to figure this stuff out. Passively sitting there means college will not be successful for you. Study groups are very useful in college, but only if you are a participant in them. Learning doesn't happen to those who are present, it happens with those who go and do it. There are lots of resources out to there to help everyone learn but they only show us the door. It is up to each and every one of us to walk through it ourselves.