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ASTR178 – Other Worlds: Planets and Planetary Systems

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convener
Matt Owers
Contact via ASTR178@mq.edu.au
E6B 2.703
Lecturer
Orsola De Marco
Contact via ASTR178@mq.edu.au
E6B 2.706
Lecturer
Cormac Purcell
Contact via ASTR178@mq.edu.au
Junior Convener
Christina Baldwin
Contact via ASTR178@mq.edu.au
E6B 2.300
Matt Owers
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit explores our solar system and the newly found planetary systems around other suns. We begin by examining the processes that have shaped the marvellous variety of worlds within our own solar system, from the scorched and buckled surface of Mercury, to the geysers of frozen methane on Neptune's largest moon, Triton. From this we build an understanding of how our solar system formed and subsequently evolved to become the system that we inhabit today. We then turn our attention to the ongoing discovery of a startling variety of planets around other stars and the advanced observing techniques employed. These provide a new and challenging perspective on our place in the Universe that is modifying the scientific theories of how generic planetary systems are formed. The unit highlights breaking news as the unit proceeds. As part of this unit there is the opportunity to observe the planets with the telescopes of the Macquarie University Observatory.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  2. Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  3. Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  4. Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  5. Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  6. Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  7. Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

General Assessment Information

Unless otherwise advised, all assessment tasks are to be submitted via iLearn before 11pm on the appropriate due date. 10% of the assignment grade will be deducted for each late day. Assignments cannot be more than 5 days late. After 5 days the assignment will not be marked.

For all queries please e-mail ASTR178@mq.edu.au

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assignments 20% 18 Aug, 15 Sep, 20 Oct, 10 Nov
Moon Practical 15% 8 September 2017
Short answer assessment 10% 2 October 2017
Concept Video 15% 3 November 2017
Final Examination 40% University Examination Period

Assignments

Due: 18 Aug, 15 Sep, 20 Oct, 10 Nov
Weighting: 20%

There will be 4 multi-choice assignments based on lecture material, worth a total of 20%.   They are to be completed on-line, within iLearn, by the following due dates. Assignment 1: Friday 18 August 2017 (end of Week 3). Assignment 2: Friday 15 September 2017 (end of Week 7). Assignment 3: Friday 20 October 2017 (end of Week 10). Assignment 4: Friday 10 November 2017 (end of Week 13).


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Moon Practical

Due: 8 September 2017
Weighting: 15%

The practical consists of two parts.  1) A set of observations. You will need to go outside in the early evening at least 7-10 times, and observe the position, phase, and orientation of the Moon.  Your observations must be conducted between between 22 August and 6 September, corresponding to the period between Full Moon and New Moon. If you miss the observational window of 22 August - 6 September you will lose the marks associated with this exercise. Your observation chart and data are to be scanned or photographed and submitted to the iLearn system in jpeg or pdf format. 2) A quiz.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.

Short answer assessment

Due: 2 October 2017
Weighting: 10%

This assignment will consist of questions that need to be answered in writing. This short-answer format is similar to what will also be used in the exam.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.

Concept Video

Due: 3 November 2017
Weighting: 15%

Each student will work to create a 2 minute video explaining a concept of relevance to the unit chosen from a list of potential topics.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.

Final Examination

Due: University Examination Period
Weighting: 40%

A two-hour final exam consisting of multichoice and short-answer questions will take place in the exam period of semester 2. No material will be allowed in the exam room.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Delivery and Resources

Lectures vs External mode

This unit is offered in S2, in Day and External modes.  The only difference between these modes is that students enrolled in the external mode are not formally entitled to attend lectures.   The lectures will be recorded and available on line along with the slides and there will be other supporting material including chat rooms and a forum on-line so this should not be a disadvantage.   Students enrolled in the "External" offering are also very welcome -- nay, encouraged -- to attend lectures. If room space is tight we will send out an iLearn announcement warning external enrolees that we cannot guarantee a lecture seat for the first few weeks of the semester. External students must sit the final exam at one of the satellite locations on the same day and time as the final exam taken on campus. No exception can be made.

Class times (Day mode only)

Lecture 1 & 2  Monday 2-4pm, X5B T1 (29 Wally's Walk)

Lecture 3  Friday 11am, X5B T1 (29 Wally's Walk)

 

Required and Recommended Texts and/or Materials

Required Text: Universe: The Solar System, Freedman and Kaufmann (5th Ed) OR Universe, Freedman, Geller and Kaufmann (10th Ed). The "Solar System" edition contains all the needed chapters, but you can also get the full textbook if you like. Recent editions of either book are suitable.

A list of recommended readings and web links will be provided as needed, and there is a wealth of supporting material available on the internet.

 

Technology Used and Required

Extensive use will be made of iLearn, both to deliver content and assessment materials, as well as to collect assessment. Students will therefore need pc and internet access.  The concept video assessment requires access to a smart phone / tablet / digital camera / pc or similar device with movie recording capabilities.  Alternative arrangements will be made for students without access to one of these.

 

Teaching and Learning Strategy

This unit is taught through lectures, on-line tutorials and live chatrooms and through undertaking one field experiment.  We strongly encourage students to attend lectures because they provide a much more interactive and effective learning experience than studying a textbook, or listening to iLectures. However, this unit has been developed so as to enable it to be taken remotely. As such it is possible to take it with no lecture attendance. Questions during the lectures, on the forums or during chat rooms with moderators are strongly encouraged in this unit.  You should aim to read the relevant sections of the textbook before and after lectures and discuss the content with classmates.

You may wish to discuss your essays and other assessment with other students, but you are required to hand in your own work (see the note on plagiarism below). Several assignments are provided as one of the key learning activities for this unit, they are not there just for assessment. It is by applying knowledge learned from lectures and textbooks to solve problems that you are best able to test and develop your skills and understanding of the material.

Lectures will be presented using a data projector, with copies of the slides will be made available through iLearn. Lectures will be recorded and magically appear on the iLearn system.

Unit Schedule

Lectures

Week Lecturer Topics Chapters*
Week 1 Orsola Introduction, orienting yourself in the night sky 1, 2
Week 2 Orsola The Sun, the Moon and the planets: overview, the early observers and the Scientific Method 3, 4
Week 3 Orsola

The Earth and the Moon

7, 9, 10
Week 4 Matt Terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus and Mars 11
Week 5 Orsola

Terrestrial planets 2

11
Week 6 Matt Gas giants 12.1-12.11
Week 7 Matt Gas giants, dwarf planets 14.1-14.5, 14.9,14.10
    Mid-Semester Break  
Week 8 Cormac Moons 13, 14.6-14.10
Week 9 Cormac Meteorites, asteroids, comets

15

Week 10 Cormac Extrasolar planets 4, 5, 6 as needed, 8.7
Week 11 Cormac Extrasolar planets 2 4, 5, 6 as needed, 8.7
Week 12 Cormac Formation and evolution of the solar system 18*, 8.1-8.6
Week 13 Matt Life in the universe 27

Chapters refer to those in either of the recommended books. The small amount of material in Chapter 18 (not in the "Solar System" book) will have equivalent iLearn readings.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments
  • Moon Practical
  • Concept Video
  • Final Examination

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment tasks

  • Moon Practical
  • Concept Video
  • Final Examination

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment tasks

  • Short answer assessment
  • Concept Video
  • Final Examination

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment task

  • Short answer assessment

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment task

  • Concept Video

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments
  • Moon Practical
  • Short answer assessment
  • Concept Video
  • Final Examination

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain how using the scientific method allows science advances though observation.
  • Describe the content of our Solar System and how we have learned about it over time.
  • Compare and contrast the planets in our Solar System and describe how these differences/similarities inform about the origin of our Solar System.
  • Identify the physical processes that are in action on Earth and in our Solar System.
  • Explain how we think our Solar System was born.
  • Summarise what we know of planets around stars other than the Sun.
  • Explain how extra-solar planets give us a new view of our own Solar System.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments
  • Moon Practical
  • Short answer assessment
  • Concept Video
  • Final Examination

Changes from Previous Offering

Matt Owers continuing from previous years. Orsola De Marco and Cormac Purcell starting co-lecturing this year. Orsola lectured ASTR178 twice before in past years.

The essay assessment was removed. Instead a short answer assessment has been added in its place. This assessment is similar to the style of questions that will also be asked during the final exam.

Standards expectations

Academic Senate has deemed that the grades correspond to the following broad performance expectations:

 

Grade

Mark %

Description

HD

High Distinction

85-100%

Denotes performance that meets all unit objectives in such an exceptional way and with such marked excellence that it deserves the highest level of recognition.

D

Distinction

75-84%

Denotes performance that clearly deserves a very high level of recognition as an excellent achievement in the unit.

Cr

Credit

65-74%

Denotes performance that is substantially better than would normally be expected of competent students in the unit.

P

Pass

50-64%

Denotes performance that satisfies unit objectives.

F

Fail

0-49%

Denotes that a candidate has failed to complete a unit satisfactorily

 

 

   

An aggregate standard number grade (SNG) corresponding to a pass (P) is required to pass this unit.

Some guidance on the qualitative distinctions between the grade levels follows.

Fail: does not provide evidence of attainment of all learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; and incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.

Pass: provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; and communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.

Credit: provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; plus communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline.

Distinction: provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions, and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience.

High Distinction: provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application.