Labs

As stated in the course syllabus, you are responsible for 13 lab assignments which are worth up to 20 points each. The lowest of the 13 will be dropped, for a total of 240 points, 1/4 of your final grade in the course.

Lab preparation

Each week, there will be a preparation component for the assigned lab.

All lab write-ups are available via Blackboard under the Labs tab. You should read the write-up for each week’s scheduled lab.  Then, you should answer the short pre-lab questions to answer by 11:59 PM Wednesday.

If the lab requires Skynet observations, those observations must be completed before the lab period and they will require at least 5-7 days lead time to accomplish. They cannot be saved until the last minute, or even the last day before the lab. Most of the Skynet data you’ll need over the semester will be requested as part of Lab 1, Introduction to Skynet.

Lab Policies

All labs may be done collaboratively.

Labs are due at the end of the lab session, with students working in pairs and handing in a single assignment. Students arriving more than 20 minutes late to a lab session for a Blackboard (non-Skynet) lab may receive a deduction for that lab, or be required to work independently rather than collaboratively on the lab exercise.

Lab grades

  • Lab score = 18 points + 2 points prelab questions = 20 points.
  • 13 labs total. Drop lowest lab grade. 12 labs x 20 points = 240 lab points.
  • 240 lab points = 25% of your total ASTR 181 grade.

Lab Schedule
Labs related to Part I/Exam 1 are in green
Labs related to Part II/Exam 2 are in blue
Labs related to Part III/Exam 3 are in purple
Last lab on Large Scale Structure relates to Part IV, covered between Exam 3 and the Final Exam

Lab Date Skynet Observations? Notes
1. Introduction to Skynet  Jan. 30, 31 Will make observations during the lab period  Lab Policies questions due 11:59 PM Friday, 1/31  (Worth 5 Participation & Engagement points)
1. Introduction to Skynet (cont’d)  Feb. 6, 7 no
2. Spectroscopy Feb. 13, 14 no Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 2/12
3. Stellar Spectral Classification Feb. 20, 21 no Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Thurs. 2/19
4. HR Diagrams of Star Clusters Feb. 27, 28 no Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 2/26
5. Star Cluster Distances and the Dustiness of Space
Mar. 5, 6 for bonus credit only Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 3/4
6. Planetary Nebulae Mar. 12, 13 for bonus credit only

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 3/25

Lab due after break, at 11:59 PM on 3/30

Spring break
7. Dying Stars and the Birth of the Elements Mar. 26, 27 for bonus credit only

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 3/25

Lab due 11:59 on 3/30 via Bb

8. Standard Candles
Distance ladder concepts also relate to Part III
Apr. 2, 3

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 4/1 (for BONUS)

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb

9. The Great Debate: Size of the Milky Way and Nature of the “Spiral Nebulae” Apr. 9, 10 yes

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 4/8

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb

10. Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Apr. 16,17 no

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 4/15

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb

11. Rotation Curves and the Mass of the Milky Way Galaxy Apr. 23, 24 no

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 4/22

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb

12. Hubble’s Law Apr. 30,
May 1
yes

Pre-lab questions due 11:59 PM Weds. 4/29

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb

13. Large Scale Structure of the Universe May 7, 8 no Pre-lab questions due
11:59 PM Weds. 5/6

Lab report due at 11:59 on Monday following your lab day, via Bb