Course Syllabus

PHYS 1040 Introduction to Astronomy


Monday-Friday, 1:20-2:30 pm

ESLC 046

Text Book

Explorations: an Introduction to Astronomy, 7th Edition
by: Thomas T. Arny & Stephen E. Schneider

Jon Pugmire


SER 209


Reading: The assigned reading should be done before class so that you can better participate in discussions. Daily quizzes for each chapter (see below) will allow you to earn points for your efforts. Essays are optional reading.

Projects: Each student will choose and complete four projects as follows: (1) Observatory Lab Report, (2) Measurement Project, (3) Observation Project and (4) Team Project and Presentation. More information will be given later.


    Daily Quizzes: A short quiz will be given at the beginning of class each day to reward you for completing the reading assignment. Questions will be chosen from the Quiz Questions found on the class website.

    Exams: There will be four exams consisting of multiple-choice and matching questions.

    Final Exam: An exam will be given covering the last section of material.


    The following grading standards will be used in this class:

    4 Exams at 100 points each....400

    25 Quizzes at 8 points each....200

    4 Projects at 50 points each....200


    Grade Range
    A 100% to 94%
    A- < 94% to 90%
    B+ < 90% to 87%
    B < 87% to 84%
    B- < 84% to 80%
    C+ < 80% to 77%
    C < 77% to 74%
    C- < 74% to 70%
    D+ < 70% to 67%
    D < 67% to 60%
    F < 60% to 0%

    Canvas Information

    Canvas is the where course content, grades, and communication will reside for this course.


    Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities

    Academic freedom is the right to teach, study, discuss, investigate, discover, create, and publish freely. Academic freedom protects the rights of faculty members in teaching and of students in learning. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in teaching, research, and creative activities, subject to the limitations imposed by professional responsibility. Faculty Code Policy #403 further defines academic freedom and professional responsibilities.

    Academic Integrity – "The Honor System"

    Each student has the right and duty to pursue his or her academic experience free of dishonesty. The Honor System is designed to establish the higher level of conduct expected and required of all Utah State University students.
    The Honor Pledge: To enhance the learning environment at Utah State University and to develop student academic integrity, each student agrees to the following Honor Pledge:
    "I pledge, on my honor, to conduct myself with the foremost level of academic integrity."
    A student who lives by the Honor Pledge is a student who does more than not cheat, falsify, or plagiarize. A student who lives by the Honor Pledge:

    • Espouses academic integrity as an underlying and essential principle of the Utah State University community;
    • Understands that each act of academic dishonesty devalues every degree that is awarded by this institution; and
    • Is a welcomed and valued member of Utah State University.

    Academic Dishonesty

    The instructor of this course will take appropriate actions in response to Academic Dishonesty, as defined the University’s Student Code.  Acts of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to:

    • Cheating: using, attempting to use, or providing others with any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, examinations, or in any other academic exercise or activity.  Unauthorized assistance includes:
      • Working in a group when the instructor has designated that the quiz, test, examination, or any other academic exercise or activity be done “individually;”
      • Depending on the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments;
      • Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for oneself, in taking an examination or preparing academic work;
      • Acquiring tests or other academic material belonging to a faculty member, staff member, or another student without express permission;
      • Continuing to write after time has been called on a quiz, test, examination, or any other academic exercise or activity;
      • Submitting substantially the same work for credit in more than one class, except with prior approval of the instructor; or engaging in any form of research fraud.
    • Falsification: altering or fabricating any information or citation in an academic exercise or activity.
    • Plagiarism: representing, by paraphrase or direct quotation, the published or unpublished work of another person as one‘s own in any academic exercise or activity without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes using materials prepared by another person or by an agency engaged in the sale of term papers or other academic materials.

    Sexual Harassment

    Sexual harassment is defined by the Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as any "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature." If you feel you are a victim of sexual harassment, you may talk to or file a complaint with the Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Office located in Old Main, Room 161, or call the AA/EEO Office at (435) 797-1266.

    Withdrawal Policy and "I" Grade Policy

    Students are required to complete all courses for which they are registered by the end of the semester. In some cases, a student may be unable to complete all of the coursework because of extenuating circumstances, but not due to poor performance or to retain financial aid. The term ‘extenuating’ circumstances includes: (1) incapacitating illness which prevents a student from attending classes for a minimum period of two weeks, (2) a death in the immediate family, (3) financial responsibilities requiring a student to alter a work schedule to secure employment, (4) change in work schedule as required by an employer, or (5) other emergencies deemed appropriate by the instructor.

    Students with Disabilities

    Students with ADA-documented physical, sensory, emotional or medical impairments may be eligible for reasonable accommodations. Veterans may also be eligible for services. All accommodations are coordinated through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in Room 101 of the University Inn, (435)797-2444. Please contact the DRC as early in the semester as possible. Alternate format materials (Braille, large print, digital, or audio) are available with advance notice.
    Contacting the Disability Resource Center (DRC):

    Disability related resources for current students:

    Diversity Statement

    Regardless of intent, careless or ill-informed remarks can be offensive and hurtful to others and detract from the learning climate. If you feel uncomfortable in a classroom due to offensive language or actions by an instructor or student(s) regarding ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, contact:

    You can learn about your student rights by visiting:
    The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students at Utah State University:

    Grievance Process

    Students who feel they have been unfairly treated may file a grievance through the channels and procedures described in the Student Code: Article VII. Grievances.

    Full details for USU Academic Policies and Procedures can be found at:

    Emergency Procedures

    In the case of a drill or real emergency, classes will be notified to evacuate the building by the sound of the fire/emergency alarm system or by a building representative. In the event of a disaster that may interfere with either notification, evacuate as the situation dictates (i.e., in an earthquake when shaking ceases or immediately when a fire is discovered). Turn off computers and take any personal items with you. Elevators should not be used; instead, use the closest stairs.


    Course Summary:

    Date Details