Astro C10 / L&S C70 (Fall 2009)

Head GSI : Aaron Lee

E-mail contact : a.t.lee@berkeley

Office : 541 Campbell Hall

Weekly Meetings (with Prof. Filippenko) : 6th floor lounge of Campbell Hall

  • Fridays from 1 pm - 2 pm

Information for the graders of Astro C10 : C10 Fall 2009 Graders

Josh Shiode's Ay300 Site : Ay300 Fall 2009

Electronic Big Red Binder : EBRB

Think Pair Share Forum : TPS Questions

Stray Homework : Stray Homework

Midterm II Review : Midterm Review II


Last lecture is on MONDAY. You should come.

Review Sessions:

  1. Friday, Dec 11, 2-4pm, Valley LSB 2040
  2. Sunday, Dec 13, 2-4pm, Dwinelle 0145
  3. Monday, Dec 14, 8-10pm, Dwinelle 0155

Old Announcements can be found here : Old Announcements

Things to be doing NOW

  1. Understand Cosmology.

Friday Meeting Itinerary (not necessarily in this order)

Websites Worth Mentioning to Students

Our GSI Oath

We, GSIs of Alex Filippenko's Astronomy C10 course, taught in the Fall of 2009, will make the utmost effort to

  1. have patience when communicating with our students.
  2. come to section prepared.
  3. talk to the class and not the board (or empty space).
  4. add variety to our sections to keep student interest.
  5. have a genuine interest in the subject matter we are discussing.
  6. aim to satisfy the middle level student, while giving ample opportunity for high level students to ask detailed questions.
  7. remain positive through thick and thin, regardless of our stress level.
  8. have flexibility in our teaching, allowing for the unknown.
  9. make it clear how the material ties in with lectures and allow students to ask questions about the lecture material that confused them.
  10. relate the material to the students and show how seemingly disparate concepts can lead to an understanding of bigger picture ideas.

Star Party Sites - Useful list of interesting objects and their relative positions. - Monthly downloadable star chart. - Also check out the “Week at a Glance” section.

Useful Software (not free) : Starry Night Pro (my favorite, I will look for my CD and share if you are interested.) - EBRB Section

GSIs and UGSIs

Graduate Student Instructors

  1. Josh Burkart
  2. Jackson Debuhr
  3. Chat Hull
  4. Therese Jones
  5. Aaron Lee
  6. Bernie Lin
  7. Ryan Maas
  8. James McBride
  9. Thea Steele

Undergraduate Student Instructors

  1. Chris Griffith
  2. Anna Rosen

Section and TALC Assignments

TALC Assignments GSI 1 GSI 2
7 pm - 8 pm Jackson Debuhr Chris Griffith
8 pm - 9 pm Therese Jones Jackson Debuhr
6 pm - 7 pm Aaron Lee Ryan Maas
7 pm - 8 pm James McBride Josh Burkart
8 pm - 9 pm Anna Rosen Josh Burkart


Sections Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9-10 125: JD 104: TJ 110: RM 102: TS 122: JD
10-11 126: JD 109: TJ 119: RM 111: TS
11-12 105: BL 115: BL 107: JB
12-1 121: CH 112: JB 123: JD 113: JM
1-2 106: AL 103: JB 114: JM Meeting
2-3 118: CH 101: CG 116: AR 117: JB
3-4 Lecture 108: CG Lecture 124: AR Lecture
4-5 120: AL


101 : CG 102 : TS 103 : JB 104 : TJ 105 : BL 106 : AL 107 : JB 108 : CG 109 : TJ 110 : RM
111 : TS 112 : JB 113 : JM 114 : JM 115 : BL 116 : AR 117 : JB 118 : CH 119 : RM 120 : AL
121 : CH 122 : JD 123 : JD 124 : AR 125 : JD 126 : JD

Weekly Schedule

Week (Dates) Important Events Other Notes
Week 1 (Aug 26 - Aug 28) Mon,Tue Sections do not meet
Week 2 (Aug 31 - Sep 4 )
Week 3 (Sep 7 - Sep 11) Arc Lamp Demos Mon Sections do not meet (holiday)
Week 4 (Sep 14 - Sep 18)
Week 5 (Sep 21 - Sep 25) Quiz 1
Week 6 (Sep 28 - Oct 2 )
Week 7 (Oct 5 - Oct 9 ) Reviews, Midterm on Friday
Week 8 (Oct 12 - Oct 16)
Week 9 (Oct 19 - Oct 23) Mid-semester Evals
Week 10 (Oct 26 - Oct 30)
Week 11 (Nov 2 - Nov 6 ) Reviews, Midterm on Friday
Week 12 (Nov 9 - Nov 13) Wed Sections do not meet (holiday)
Week 13 (Nov 16 - Nov 20)
Week 14 (Nov 23 - Nov 27) Thur,Fri Sections do not meet (holiday)
Week 15 (Nov 30 - Dec 4 )
Week 16 (Dec 7 - Dec 9 ) Now Reading Week Mon,Tue,Wed,Thur,Fri Sections do not meet

Suggestions for Week 15

Up to you! It's your final section. Be sure to hand out the course/teacher/GSI evaluations at some time during the section.

Suggestions for Week 14

Review cosmology and any questions the students have.

Suggestions for Week 13

Since there are no quizzes, I would suggest using the Scientific American article to motivate discussion on the expansion of the universe.

Possible demos: Expansion of the Universe (see EBRB for examples). I'll have some balloons available in the cabinet if you want to use the balloon analogy.

Suggestions for Week 12

Dark matter, Hubble expansion, Gravitational Lensing (See McCourt et al.'s demo ; the glasses should be in the cabinet).

Suggestions for Week 11

Midterm reviews!

Suggestions for Week 10

Suggestions for Week 9

Stellar evolution - stellar formation, life. Fusion vs. “burning” misconceptions. Lifetime of a star. Parallax and distance measurements. The H-R Diagram.

The Solar Telescopes will be available to use on the roof of Campbell Hall.

Suggestions for Week 8

10 minutes of midterm review. Go over 1-3 of the questions.

Comets, meteor(-iods/-ites). Extrasolar planets: detection methods, biases in our observations, etc. Stellar parallax: measuring distances in astronomy (the Cosmic Distance Ladder).

Suggestions for Week 7

Midterm reviews. In the past GSIs (and students) have enjoyed some form of Jeopardy game. Example questions can be found on the EBRB.

I have also tried not doing a game but assigning each group a set of slides and having them come up with the 5 or so most important topics in those slides. We then write it all on the board and discuss as many as we can. If you are feeling really nice, you might type them up and E-mail the list to your students.

Suggestions for Week 6

Kepler's Laws and Gravity , Retrograde motion (We need better demos for this topic!)

Suggestions for Week 5

Give your quiz. The layout of the section might go something like this:

  1. 10 minutes of review Q&A.
  2. 20 minutes for the Quiz.
  3. 15 minutes to go over the solutions.
  4. 5 minutes for a quick demo (e.g., the milktank, rotation of the moon, etc.)

Suggestions for Week 4

Continue reviewing material on BBodies, Doppler, and Phases of the Moon.

Suggestions for Week 3

Arc Lamp demos. The materials are in the lower-right corner of the demo cabinet. Do NOT let the students take the diffraction gratings.

Suggestions for Week 2

The basics of electromagnetic radiation. Cover waves and photons and their relation to each other.

There are tons of worksheets dedicated to just light on the EBRB. Spectral lines can be covered, but the Arc Lamp demo will be done in all sections on Week 3.

Relate the basic physics of light to astronomy. For example, you can talk about emission and absorption nebulae. What causes absorption lines in a star? Why do you see emission lines?

Have the students get up in the class and act out energy level transitions. I am going to buy some Styrofoam balls and paint them various colors. Hopefully they will be in the demo cabinet by Thursday.

Suggestions for Week 1

Review Josh's Ay300 Page:

Introductions and Ice-Breakers

Go through the syllabus for your section. Also, don't forget to announce TALC, office hours, star parties (if you have any dates yet), homework due dates, test/quiz dates, etc. You should also remember to tell your students what “TALC”, “star parties”, and even “office hours” are!


  1. Horoscope Debunking
  2. Misconceptions in Astronomy
  3. Brief overview of topics in the course
  4. History of the Universe timeline
  5. Scale Models (Sizes, Distances)
  6. Calendar of History
  7. Add your own here!!!

Math review worksheets (for TALC) can be found here :

First Meeting Itinerary (OLD)

  1. Welcomes
    1. Introductions
    2. Ice-breakers
    3. The role of the GSI
    4. Overview of responsibilities (hand out books/course packets?)
      1. Sections
      2. Office Hours
      3. TALC (The Astronomy Learning Center)
      4. Review Sessions
      5. Star Parties
  2. Decide on a permanent meeting time
  3. Pick sections
  4. TALC Assignments
  5. Quick overview of bSpace and the EBRB
  6. Your First Section
  7. Things you need to do now