AY1: Introduction to the Cosmos. UCSC Spring 2017

This is the website for AY1, Spring 2017, Instructor Michael Bolte

The class is about what we have learned about the Universe and the methods used to gain that knowledge. The topics range from the contents of the Solar System and our Milky Way Galaxy to the largest scales in the Universe and what we understand about the origin, evolution and future of the Universe. The week-by-week syllabus is below.


All the scores are now posted under the “Quiz results” tab above. Also added to the page is the histograph of the scores from the Final along with the curve and a histograph for the combined totals for the class that contains the mapping of total combined score to grade. The individual curves of the quizzes and final were preserved and the average attendance score added. Please check to see if the scores recorded for you look right and please contact me (mbolte@ucsc.edu) if you have questions or concerns.

Have good summers and lives! I enjoyed having you in the class.

Class Information

Lecture location: Earth and Marine Sciences B206
Lecture times: 5:20-6:55 T/Th
Initial class: 4 April 2017, final class: 8 June 2017
Final Exam: 14 June 4-7PM
Key Dates for Spring 2017 Quarter

Class Syllabus

Week 1: scale of spacetime, tools of astronomy, the reason for seasons
Week 2: NEOs and the dinosaurs, the nature of light, The Solar System
Week 3: Properties of stars, stellar models and stellar evolution
Week 4: endpoints of stellar evolution, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes
Week 5: the Galaxy and its contents
Week 6: the extra-galactic universe and the expansion of the Universe
Week 7: the hot big bang and production of the elements
Week 8: the large-scale Universe and formation of structure
Week 9: the fate of the Universe
Week 10: exoplanets, life in the Universe

Teaching Assistants

There are two TAs for the class, both are graduate students working toward their PhD in the UCSC Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tiffany Hsyu: ISB 131, thsyu@ucsc.edu
Grecco Oyarzun: ISB 255, goyarzun@uscs.edu


62684 DIS 01A Mon 04:00PM-05:05PM GO NatSci Annex 101
62685 DIS 01B Wed 05:20PM06:25PM GO NatSci Annex 101
62686 DIS 01C Wed 06:40PM-07:45PM TH NatSci Annex 101
62687 DIS 01D Fri    09:20AM-10:25AM GO NatSci Annex 101
62688 DIS 01E Fri    02:40PM-03:45PM TH NatSci Annex 101
62689 DIS 01F Mon 02:40PM-03:45PM TH NatSci Annex 101


Grades will be based on:

67.5% Best three of four in-class quizzes (lowest score will be dropped)
22.5% Final
10% for participation based on clicker quizzes during class

Quiz dates (tentative): April 18, May 4, May 23, June 8

Astronomy Links

What is in the sky tonight: Night Sky Tonight
Astronomy Photo of the Day: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/
Good BBC article on the asteroid impact 66 million years ago K-T Extinction