Astronomy

Online Courses

Special Notice to Potential ASTR 110 Students

It has come to our attention that some of you who have tried to sign up for our Introduction to Astronomy ASTR 110 – 601 (or even ASTR 110 – 001) course are being declined by Datatel for not having had PHYS 111 as a prerequisite, even though you may have indeed taken either high school chemistry or physics, as the official description of the prerequisites states! If you are encountering trouble with this situation, please contact the instructor, Mr. Mayeux, either by e-mail (mayeuxd@sanjuancollege.edu) or by phone (505-566-3361) and he will assist you in completing your registration for the Introduction to Astronomy class!

Introduction to Astronomy with Lab
ASTR 110-601
David Mayeux
What is this course? The course is Astronomy 110, Introduction to Astronomy. This is a basic introduction to astronomy from the very beginning. We will span a wide variety of subjects, from celestial mechanics to the study of planets to Greek mythology stories of the constellations!
What are the prerequisites? You must have successfully taken PHYS 111, or high school chemistry or physics.
When does this course begin and end? The course begins August 22 and ends December 14.
Who is teaching this course? The instructor is David Mayeux. David has taught several astronomy courses for 15 years and has nearly 20 years of experience in astronomy education from Pre-K to college level educational programs.  He’s taught courses in introductory astronomy, constellation mythology, deep-space astronomy, and basic stargazing workshops and courses, as well as having given numerous public presentations for planetarium shows and telescopic stargazing sessions.

For more information about the course, you can email him at mayeuxd@sanjuancollege.edu Or if you call 505-566-3361 and leave a message, he’ll return your call as soon as possible.
What materials will I need? You will need the following materials to complete this course successfully:
  • Explorations: An Introduction to Astronomy, 6e by Thomas Arny (ISBN # 978-0-07-351217-4)
  • 365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo (ISBN# 0-671-76606-6),
  • Microsoft Word (not Microsoft Works or WordPerfect)
  • PowerPoint or PowerPoint viewer
  • A reliable computer
  • An Internet connection (preferably high-speed)
Will the course be hard for me? Because this is an introductory astronomy course, I tend to assume that most students will have a basic understanding of physical science in general, and I try to keep the course relatively light in difficulty from a mathematics standpoint. We really won’t be doing anything more complex than very basic algebra or squaring numbers, mathematically. As science is concerned, the concepts start out with light difficulty and we progressively build on what we have learned in earlier chapters to understand later chapters. Toward the end of the course we do tackle exotic astronomical concepts such as nuclear fusion in the Sun, black holes, and cosmology, but I try to impart a basic conceptual understanding of even these subjects. A good rule of thumb for this class is, “if you have an interest or aptitude in physical science in general, and especially in astronomy space science, you will probably do quite well in Astronomy 110, provided you apply yourself to the work involved, of course. There is a lot of reading, so if you don’t like astronomy or reading in general, this course may not be for you! I find, however, that most people who have any familiarity with the physical sciences tend to like the subject of astronomy, if for no other reason than that there are so many different interesting concepts that astronomy touches upon, as well as its ethereal beauty when observed!

Of course, since this is an online course, you should be able to handle operating a computer to go online, log in, and use e-mail with confidence. If there is something that you don’t understand, please do contact me by e-mail or the Canvas system. I love to try to help people understand the heavens better!
How much time will I have to spend per week on this course? The class meets 4 hours per week. As a rule, for every hour you are in class, you need to spend a minimum of 2 hours studying. So, 4 + (4 x 2) = 12 hours per week at a minimum for studying and class time!
Can I go at my own pace? Only in a limited fashion. We will cover the course in 6 themed units, and these classes tend to work better for most people if you keep up some kind of a checkpoint system. I would say that within a unit, you could go at your own pace until a specified date at which you must turn in assigned work, usually a unit test, lab, or other special assignment. With the appreciable amount of material covered in this 4-semester-hour class, leaving it alone for too long makes it very easy to fall overwhelmingly behind. Therefore, there will be deadlines for assignment material at periodic intervals. Since this course attempts to replicate the environment in the workplace, the instructor will not allow late work, but will allow students to work ahead of schedule.

For more information, please call David Mayeux at 505-566-3361. Or send an email to mayeuxd@sanjuancollege.edu.