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Astro 1102 Spring 2016

Office Hours


Course Info

Section Syllabus



Introduction, section syllabus, unit conversions and HW 1


Introduction to light, spectra demo

Spectra Images

Assignment 1

Assignment 2

2/16/16 – No section


Exam Review!!

Assignment 3
Insightful video on tides that is actually accurate. May take a few views to comprehend completely.


Radiometric Dating

Radiogenic dating notes

Click the images to see examples of rock samples like we used in section. Above each sample is {N(t), N(0), Age in Billions of years}. See if you can get all 3, and draw what the sample looked like at formation!

t=-1.443\times t_{1/2}\times ln\left(\frac{N(t)}{N(0)}\right)

 ln\left(\frac{N(t)}{N(0)}\right)  is the ‘natural log’ you should be able to find it on your calculator.

Yellow = K40  Red = Ar40  Blue = Ca40    ==   Half-life is 1.248 billion years

Steps for K/Ar dating:

1) How much Ar is there?

2) multiply by 9 to determine how much Ca was produced during decay,

3) add this number to how much Ar there is,

4) add this number to current amount of K to get N(0)

K Ar Ca samples

(Click to enlarge)

Yellow = Rb87  Red = Sr87  Blue = Sr86    ==   Half-life is 48.1 billion years

Steps for Rb/Sr dating:

1) How much Sr86 is there?

2) multiply by 7 and divide by 10 to determine how much Sr87 was in the sample initially

3) Subtract this number to how much Sr87 there is

4) add this number to current amount of Rb87 to get N(0)

Rb Sr samples

(Click to enlarge)


Formation of the Moon

Picture describing evolution of life


Important dates

4.7 billion years ago – solar nebula starts to collapse

4.6 billion years ago – solar system forms (evidence: earliest known dust grains)

4.5 billion years ago – Moon forms (evidence: Earth-Moon composition/age)

4.1 billion years ago – first evidence for life (evidence: life like stable carbon isotope ratios)

3.8 billion years ago – First fossil evidence for life (evidence: fossils)

3.5 billion years ago – Bacteria and Archaea become distinct (evidence: fossils)

3.1 billion years ago – Photosynthetic bacteria flourish producing oxygen which gets absorbed by the ocean (evidence: fossils, oxidized minerals)

2 billion years ago – Eukaryotic life forms and oxygen gets absorbed by the land surfaces (evidence: fossils, oxidized minerals)

800 million years ago – Oxygen sinks are filled and multicellular life arises (evidence: fossils, oxidized minerals)

600 million years ago – Ozone layer forms allowing life to survive longer on land. (evidence: fossils, oxidized minerals)

500 million years ago – First vertebrates in ocean (evidence: fossils)

450 million years ago – Land plants arise followed by land animals (evidence: fossils)

350 million years ago – With insects and plants flourishing Earth would start to look familiar


Assignment 4

Assignment 4 sol

Transit Method
Doppler Method/ Radial Velocity
Meteorite Formation


Section Assignment 5

Section Assignment 5sol

3 years in 3 minutes

3 years in 3 minutes – with commentary

Plasma Rain


Helpful blog about intro astronomy

Modern stromatolite, fossil stromatolite, and fossil cyanobacteria.


Hydrothermal Vents


Jupiter: Formation and migration , Structure , Atmosphere , Rings , Magnetosphere , Orbit and rotation , Moons

Saturn:  Structure , Atmosphere , Rings , Magnetosphere , Orbit and rotation , Moons , History of Observation

Uranus: Structure , Atmosphere , Rings , Magnetosphere , Orbit and rotation , MoonsFormation

Neptune: Structure , Atmosphere , Rings , Magnetosphere , Orbit and rotation , Moons , Formation

Results 201

Results 206


Cancelled due to power outage


Go over exam and HW9/10

Roche Limit derivation


Time is weird…

Gravity is cool!

(the code used for the simulations was developed here at Cornell)

Approximately a person…



HW 1 due 2/9

HW 2 due 2/19

HW 3 due 3/1

HW 4 due 3/8

HW 5 due 3/15

HW 6 due 4/5

HW7 due 4/12

HW8 due 4/19

HW9 due 5/3

HW10 due 5/10