The Crab Nebula, a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion.

The orange filaments are the tattered remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The rapidly spinning neutron star embedded in the center of the nebula is the dynamo powering the nebula's eerie interior bluish glow. Blue in the filaments in the outer part of the nebula represents neutral oxygen, green is singly-ionized sulfur, and red indicates doubly-ionized oxygen.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University)

Greetings to students in ASTR1010-004 (MW 7:35-8:50 PM) from the instructor, Nancy Morrison.

This page is intended to provide a backup copy of the materials displayed in lecture and of the syllabus, announcements relevant to the class, and access to the wealth of astronomical information on the World Wide Web. It is not intended as a substitute for regular class attendance.

Observing sessions at Brooks Observatory for Astronomy 1010 have been completed for fall 2010.

Observing was held successfully on:
  1. January 28, 2010
  2. February 23, 2010
  3. March 23, 2010
  4. April 19, 2010
  5. April 23, 2010
  6. April 26, 2010
  7. April 27, 2010
  8. April 28, 2010
  9. April 29, 2010

Extra Credit Assignment 8 is now on line. It will be due Wednesday, May 5 at 7:30 PM. After the due date, you can still work on it, but you won't get credit for it.

Visit http://www.masteringastronomy.com/. The first time you visit, click New Students. On the next screen that appears:
  • If you bought Mastering Astronomy with your textbook, click Yes, I have an access code. You will find the access code behind a pull tab inside the Mastering Astronomy packet.
  • To purchase access on-line, click, No, I do not have an access code.
  • You will be taken to a screen that will ask you to designate your textbook. Scroll to the right and select, Bennett/Donahue/Schneider/Voit, The Essential Cosmic Perspective, 5e
  • Proceed with the on-line purchase at a cost of $35.00.
  • When requested, provide the course ID MAMORRISON04703

About the assignments:

  • They will consist mainly of multiple-choice questions similar to what you will see on the tests.
  • The material is from the current week's classes.
  • The total extra credit available for the semester will be about enough to raise your grade by a +/-- sign if you are in the A-C range.
You may wish to work the non-credit introductory exercise first. It is provided by the publisher and is designed to acquaint you with the software.

Latest update: May 3, 2010 16:00


Links to astronomy resources


Syllabus for course (PDF, 93 KB)

Answer keys for quizzes - all are now posted. The quizzes themselves are posted here.

About the required planetarium show and telescope observing sessions (55 KB, PDF) --- Tickets will be provided in class.

For information about public planetarium programs, click here.

Study tips for success

Schedule for Physics and Astronomy Department help desk for the semester (PDF, 28 KB). The help desk is located on the second floor of McMaster Hall at the north end of the building.

About Ritter Planetarium



Materials displayed in lecture will be placed here before each class - subject to revision - and then updated after each class if needed. Each is a PDF file that contains links to images displayed; separate links to the web images are also provided. The most recent material is first.

April 28, 2010 - post-class version, 1680 KB

WMAP's microwave sky after 7 years' oberving ... time line of the universe

April 26, 2010 - post-class version, 169 KB

Large-scale structure ... Hubble Ultra Deep Field ... extremely distant galaxy discovered in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field ... Edge-on spiral galaxy ... white dwarf supernova in nearby galaxy ... map of cosmic micrwave background

April 21, 2010 - post-class version, 1600 KB

April 19, 2010 - post-class version, 1900 KB

For images not on Web, see the PDF.

April 14, 2010 - post-class version, 347 KB - review and sample multiple-choice questions

April 12, 2010 - post-class version, 846 KB

April 7, 2010 - post-class version, 795 KB

April 5, 2010 - post-class version, 930 KB

March 31, 2010 - post-class version, 229 KB ... Double star cluster in Perseus

March 29, 2010 - post-class version, 1040 KB ... Orion, Canis Major, Monoceros ... Alpha Centauri and the Sourhern Cross ... Alpha Centauri as a triple star

March 24, 2010 - post-class version, 446 KB ... Sun in white light ... corona in total solar eclipse ... coronal mass ejection movies (similar to the one shown in class) ... aurora over Alaska ... solar wind and Earth's magnetic field (access from UT) ... aurora seen from space ... sunpots ... magnetically controlled loops of gas in corona ... fossil bacterial colony

March 22, 2010 - post-class version, 1200 KB

March 17, 2010 - post-class version, 226 KB - finish material on Jovian planets, then review as time permits, then Quiz 4

March 15, 2010 - post-class version, 480 KB

March 3, 2010 - post-class version, 394 KB.

March 1, 2010 - - post-class version, 632 KB. ... About a grading error on Quiz 3 ... Terrestrial planets compared ... Artist's concept of Earth in formation

February 24, 2010 - post-class version, 509 KB. Inlcludes review questions, not used. We finished the material on formation and age of the solar system, then reviewed, then held quiz 3. Allende, a primitive meteorite (scroll about halfway down to see image)

February 22, 2010 - post-class version, 610 KB

February 17, 2010 - post-class version, 374 KB ... Composite of the Sun and planets, true to size ... NASA news release on the discovery of Sedna, with graphic ... Thermal infrared emission from the eclipsed Moon ... Size comparison among the Jovian planets [neglected to show this in class] ... Size comparison among small planets and large moons ... Angular momentum and figure skating

February 15, 2010 - post-class version, 232 KB .. View of the summit of Kitt Peak ... Primary mirror of Hubble Space Telescope ... The star cluster Hodge 301, a typical Hubble Space Telescope image - Emission-line spectrum of the corona around the totally eclipsed Sun ("flash spectrum") .. Hubble Space Telescope in orbit ... Hubble and ground-based images of Pluto and its moon, an example of the concept of resolution .. the Green Bank Telescope, a large radio telescope in West Virginia

February 10, 2010 - post-class version, 1100 KB ... Quiz 2.

February 8, 2010 - post-class version, 849 KB ... Visualization of the scale of the atom ... Picture of cat in infrared ... Neon advertising lights

February 3, 2010 - post-class version, 492 KB ... Launch of Space Shuttle ... An astronaut in the Space Shuttle ... An astronaut floating freely beside the Space Shuttle

February 1, 2010 - post-class version, 411 KB ... Astronaut on the Moon ... Dropping a hammer and a feather on the Moon

January 27, 2010 - Test 1 scheduled 8:25 PM. One new animation, then review.

January 25, 2010 - post-class version, 320 KB ... Solar eclipse photos, animations (precise link not available; look in photo gallery) ... Triple picture of lunar eclipse ... Graphical animations of track of shadow on Earth's surface (see "Solar Eclipses: 2008 - 2015" table) ... Planets along the ecliptic just after sunset ... Venus loop, combined exposure ... Animation of Jupiter and Saturn in retrograde motion

January 20, 2010 - post-class version, 418 KB ... Sun's apparent path in three seasons ... Sunrise at three seasons ... Animation of Moon's phases

January 13, 2010 - post-class version, 199 KB ... Sun's apparent path during the day at winter solstice ... Star trails around the north celestial pole ... Star trails near the northwestern horizon

January 11, 2010 - post-class version, 132 KB


On Quiz 3, the correct answer to the question reading, "In general, the farther from the Sun a planet is, the ______________ it is found to be" is "(e), more than one of these." The answer given in the answer key was (d), which is the correct answer to a different question. I edited this question but forgot to change the answer key.

Notes added March 3, 2010, 01:14

I apologize for this error, and I will correct the grade of everyone affected. It is not necessary to email me about it, and it is not necessary to correct it in your test corrections if you answered (e). If you submit test corrections, when I reply I will confirm that I have amended your score.