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Descriptive Astronomy

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2010
McCoy Engineering Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Class meets 4:00 - 4:50 pm MW.

Labs meet 5:00 - 6:50 pm M, 5:00 - 6:50 pm W.

Dr. Jacqueline Dunn (view Profile)


Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to Astronomy, 6th Ed
Authors: Chaisson & McMillan
Lecture-Tutorials for Intro Astronomy, 2nd Ed
Authors: Prather, Slater, Adams, & Brissenden
Mastering Astronomy Student Access
This provides access to an electronic homework system based on your text.
Course Objectives

This course is designed to introduce the student to the basic concepts of astronomy.  We will cover everything from the solar system to how astronomers believe the universe began.  There will be both non-graded and graded in-class activities on a regular basis.

Course Expectations

Course Website:  This course makes use of Blackboard / WebCT for supplemental instruction.

Grading:  Labs – 15%, Project – 15%, Participation – 10%, Exams (3 @ 20% each) – 60%

Expectations:  Students should read the chapters to be covered on a particular day prior to coming to class.

Final Exam 12/06/2010 5:45 - 7:45 pm
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Late work will not be accepted.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

While attendance is not factored into your grade directly, you must attend class regularly if you hope to do well.  Tests can only be made up if you have an excused absence (considered on a case by case basis).  Any planned absences from class should be discussed with the instructor beforehand if you are going to be missing a graded activity (e,g, test, quiz, etc.) so that make-up plans (if approved) may be arranged.  Excused absences include university sponsored events, illness, and the death of an immediate family member (parents, children, siblings, etc.).

Other Policies

Lab:  All lab assignments must be completed during the lab period unless otherwise noted.  If you cannot attend lab at any time and have an approved excused absence, you must make arrangements with the instructor to make-up the lab within one week of when it was originally scheduled.  Note that you may attend either lab section during a given week if you must miss your normal lab time.  However, lab space is extremely limited.  Be aware that if you attend a lab section other than your own, you may have to stand the entire time.  Labs will begin the first week of class.


Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated.  If you take a direct quote from a source for one of your assignments, please indicate so by using quotation marks and citing the source.  It should go without saying that any work you hand in should be your own.  You may work together in pairs in lab, but you must submit your own work.

Please turn off your cell phone (or put in silent mode) while in lecture or lab.

Note:  In accordance with the law, MSU provides students with documented disabilities academic accommodations. If this applies to you, please contact me.

Note:  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a "limited right" in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The "limited right" shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student's work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at