ISP 205 Lab     Syllabus     Fall 2002

The FIRST LABS meet week of TUESDAY September 3 .

Location: 331B North Kedzie Laboratory

Lab Manual: Visions of the Universe, by Beers, Daly, Kuhn, Loh, Parker, Simkin, & Stein
          Hayden-McNeil, 11th edition

Web Page:

Supervisor: Prof. Norman Birge, 4224 BPS, 355-9200 ext. 2203, email

Office Hours: By appointment

  Instructor     email  
  Ken Cavagnolo
  Eric Eslinger
  Abass Scotty Fahs
  Deborah Frank
  YouJuan Li
  Tatyana Sevastyanenko
  Francisco Virgili
  Ankur Warikoo

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

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). The dates for the labs are shown below.

Laboratory Schedule

  Lab         Dates         Topic   Discussion Questions  
  1   9/3 -- 9/9     Observing the Night Sky   Questions for Lab 1
  2   9/10 -- 9/16     Appearance of the Night Sky   Questions for Lab 2
  3   9/17 -- 9/23     Math, Measurements, and Making Plots   Questions for Lab 3
  4   9/24 -- 9/30     The Solar System   Questions for Lab 4
  5   10/1 -- 10/7     Measuring Distances with Parallax   Questions for Lab 5
  6   10/8 -- 10/14     Moon/Image Lab   Questions for Lab 6
  7   10/15 -- 10/21     Spectra   Questions for Lab 7
  8   10/22-- 10/28     Solar Rotation   Questions for Lab 8
  9   10/29-- 11/4     Light Curve of a Variable Star   Questions for Lab 9
  10   11/5 -- 11/11     Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram of a Star Cluster   Questions for Lab 10
  11   11/12 -- 11/18     Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters   Questions for Lab 11
  12   11/19 -- 11/25     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. 

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 mostly (70%) on your LAB ANSWERS that are handed in at the end of each lab. Your lowest lab score will be dropped. If you miss a lab, this is the one which will be dropped with no penalty. If you miss MORE than one lab, and have valid excuses for all mised labs (e.g. Doctor's letters), then you must contact the Course Supervisor to make up the missed lab.  If you don't have a valid excuse, 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.

Your ISP205L grade is based also (25%) on your participation in the DISCUSSION at the end of each lab. To get full credit for the discussion part of the lab you must participate regularly in the lab discussions.  You will receive one point (up to a maximum of 2 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 last 5% of your ISP205L grade is based on coming to class on time.  For each lab, your TA will give you a point for being in the lab on time, and no point if you are more than a few minutes late.  (Since there are 12 labs, each of these points will be worth 5/12 % of your grade.) 

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

  Score     Grade  
  90-100%     4.0  
  85-90%     3.5  
  80-85%     3.0  
  75-80%     2.5  
  70-75%     2.0  
  65-70%     1.5  
  60-65%     1.0  
  < 60%     0.0  

For general information see

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

Updated by Norman Birge: 2002.09.11 (Wednesday) 10:14:53 EDT  9/11/02