ISP 205 Lab     Syllabus     Spring 2001

Location: 331B North Kedzie Laboratory

Lab Manual: Visions of the Universe, by Beers, Daly, Kuhn, Loh, Parker, Simkin, & Stein
          Hayden-McNeil, 9th edition

Web Page:

Supervisor: Robert Stein, PA 310, 353-8661, email

Office Hours: Tuesday 1 - 2 pm, Wednesday 3 - 4 pm, or by appointment

Instructors: Room PA 318, Phone 353-9920

  Instructor     email  
  Amanda Bayless
  Lynn Carlson
  Eric Eslinger
  Jessica Fournier
  Irma Kuljanishvili
  Joe Kozminski
  John Lee
  Susan Musser
  Joshua Roebke
  Christopher Waters
  Jason Venema

Laboratory Sections:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
sec 1
sec 4
sec 8
sec 12
sec 15
sec 2
sec 5
sec 9
sec 13
sec 16
sec 3
sec 6
sec 10
sec 14
sec 7
sec 11

Questions, Comments, and Discussion
Comments, criticism, complements, questions and discussion can be submitted via the web at
The comments of others can be viewed at

ISP 205L is the laboratory part of ISP 205, "Visions of the Universe." The goals of ISP 205L are to reinforce concepts introduced in ISP 205 lecture with concrete examples, to illustrate what astronomers do and how one makes deductions from observations, and to enhance reasoning and problem solving skills. The laboratory meets once a week for 2 hour 50 minutes. Each lab runs for one week (Tuesday through Monday before spring break and Monday through Friday after spring break). The dates for the labs are shown below.


Laboratory Schedule

  Lab         Dates         Topic   Discussion Questions  
  1   1/16 -- 1/22     Observing the Night Sky   Questions for Lab 1
  2   1/23 -- 1/29     Appearance of the Night Sky   Questions for Lab 2
  3   1/30 -- 2/5     Math, Measurements, and Making Plots   Questions for Lab 3
  4   2/6 -- 2/12     The Solar System   Questions for Lab 4
  5   2/13 -- 2/19     Measuring Distances with Parallax   Questions for Lab 5
  6   2/20 -- 2/26     Moon/Image Lab   Questions for Lab 6
  No Lab   3/5 -- 3/9     Spring Break  
  7   3/12 -- 3/16     Spectra   Questions for Lab 7
  8   3/19 -- 3/23     Solar Rotation   Questions for Lab 8
  9   3/26 -- 3/30     Light Curve of a Variable Star   Questions for Lab 9
  10   4/2 -- 4/6     Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram of a Star Cluster   Questions for Lab 10
  11   4/9 -- 4/13     Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters   Questions for Lab 11
  12   4/16 -- 4/20     The Big Bang   Questions for Lab 12


To succeed in ISP 205L, YOU MUST PREPARE BEFORE COMING TO THE LAB. Read the lab manual and assignments in the lab textbook and answer the homework questions on the lab manual answer page. Laboratories are very different from lecture classes. Much of the initiative rests with the student and it is easy to "go through the motions" of each lab without understanding the underlying concepts. The lab time is surprisingly short, so to make the best use of the time you must prepare for the lab beforehand. Read the lab once to get a general understanding of what you will be expected to accomplish, then read it again in order to obtain a more detailed understanding. There will be a short QUIZ at the beginning of each lab based on the lab manual for the current lab and on the what you learned in the previous lab.

To succeed in ISP 205L, talk to your lab partners and the lab instructor. You will be working in groups of two students for most of the labs (in exceptional cases you may be asked to work in groups of more than two). Make the most of your partner: ask him/her for help; test your understanding of by explaining ideas to him/her. However, each student is must write up their own answers (even if they are the same as your partners). Your lab instructor will help by clarifying any confusing instructions and explaining any confusing concepts. Ask them for help when needed.

To succeed in ISP 205L, YOU MUST TAKE PART IN THE CLASS DISCUSSION at the end of each lab. You can ask questions, make comments or answer questions. You can not remain quiet and get a good grade.


The course grade for ISP 205L is separate from your grade for ISP 205 lecture.

Your ISP205L grade is based (5%) on your answers to the QUIZZES at the beginning of each lab which test your reading the lab manual and your understanding of the previous lab.

Your ISP205L grade is based (70%) on your LAB ANSWERS that are handed in at the end of each lab. Your lowest lab score will be dropped. Their will be NO makeup labs permitted. If you DO miss a lab, this is the one which will be dropped with no penalty. If you miss MORE than one lab, then you will receive a 0.0 for each lab missed beyond the one which is dropped penalty free. Missed labs are very costly in terms of your final grade: each missed lab drops the final grade by about 0.5.

The remainder of your ISP205L grade (25%) is based on your participation in the DISCUSSION at the end of each lab. You will receive one point (up to a maximum of 3 in each lab) for each time you participate in the discussion with a relevant comment, question or answer to a question. A list of discussion questions will be handed out at the previous lab and will be available as a link from the web home page.

The grading scale for the Quizzes, Lab Answers and Discussion Participation is:

  Score     Grade  
  95-100%     4.0  
  90-95%     3.5  
  85-90%     3.0  
  80-85%     2.5  
  75-80%     2.0  
  70-75%     1.5  
  65-70%     1.0  
  < 65%     0.0  

GRADES, Spring 2001

For general information see

For information on arithmetic with numbers in scientific notation, see Scientific Arithmetic at the University of Oregon.

Updated: 2001.05.05 (Saturday) 17:44:54 EDT

Bob Stein's home page, email: