2. A. Course Title: Astronomy
    B. Course Number: PH 114A - 10336
    C. Semester: Spring 2019
    D. Days/Time: Online
    E. Credit Hours: 4
    F. Instructor: Keranen, Joel
    G. Office: Heidel Hall (HH) 232
    H. Email Address:
    I. Office Phone: (575) 492-2820
    J. Office Hours: Monday: 3:00:00 PM-5:30:00 PM (MST);
    Tuesday: 9:15:00 AM-11:45:00 AM (MST);
    Wednesday: 9:15:00 AM-11:45:00 AM (MST);
    Thursday: 9:15:00 AM-11:45:00 AM (MST);
    Other office hours by appointment. I answer email and Canvas messages within 24 hours on weekdays.
    K. Time Zone: Mountain Time
    L. Prerequisite(s):
    M. Corequisite(s): PH 114AL
    N. Class Location: Virtual

    The observations, theories, and methods of astronomy in relation to the major areas of astronomy (Planetary, Solar, Stellar, and Galactic) will be covered in this course. This is a course intended for non-science majors. Concurrent enrollment in PH 114AL (laboratory) is required. This is a four credit hour course.


    This course fulfills the requirement for a laboratory science. This is a general education course with wide transferability.



    Textbook: Discovering the Essential Universe, Neil F.Comins, Sixth ed. 2015 Publisher: Freeman ISBN: 978-1464181702

    Laboratory Manual: All self contained online in the Canvas course modules. No lab manual required.

    Laboratory Equipment:

    1) "The Night Sky" For Use in the Range 30 - 40 Degrees by David Chandler 1977

    2) Free Stellarium Download from
    This is a planetarium software that will be used for lab.


    "Astronomy" Magazine; current news stand edition.

    Laboratory Equipment: Inexpensive Binoculars

    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    Students attending New Mexico Junior College will be evaluated according to the following grading scale:


    90 - 100% = A

    80 - 89% = B

    70 - 79% = C

    60 - 69% = D

    0 - 59% = F


    Grading Weights:

    Attendance 4%

    Homework, Constellation Project, Discussions and Journals, and Quizzes 20% (Homework = 8%; Constellation Project = 4%; Discussions and Journals = 4%; and Quizzes = 4%)
    Four Exams @9% ea = 36%

    Laboratory 20%
    Final Exam 20%
    Total Possible 100%

    Attendance: A grade is awarded for attendance in this class. Roll will be taken through your logging in the course. This includes the activities done in the class portion and the lab portion. You will be given a 1 for each attendance session for the class/discussion portion and a 1 for submitting the lab for the session. A complete attendance into the class portion consists of the following: 1) Submitting the required discussion and journal postings, 2) Submitting the homework assignment for the week. A complete attendance into the lab portion consists of submitting the week’s lab assignment. Note: Simply logging in main course or the lab portion of the course will earn you ˝ point for that class or lab portion. Submission of the assignments (homework or lab) will complete the attendance requirement. In the event that you cannot log in to the course and lab to complete the assignments, a legitimate REASON is required: YOU NEED TO SHOW THE INSTRUCTOR AN EXCUSE! Email or phone the instructor with all excuses. School sponsored activities, illness, and emergencies will not count against attendance, if proper notification from Professor/ Coach/ Doctor/ Parent/ Etc. is given. All unexcused absences will cost you points. Students who have zero (unexcused) absences will be allowed to drop their lowest exam score and replace it with their highest exam score!

    Assignments will consist of questions assigned from the textbook. The questions will be graded for correctness and completeness.

    Constellation Project:  You will create a map of the constellations.  Instructions will be provided.  Due date:  Wed., May 1, 2019.

    Discussions and Journals: Discussions and journals will be required for course material as assigned.   The discussions and journals will take place in the Canvas shell. These will include journals on famous astronomers and scientists, and discussion topics on astronomy.   Instructions for the discussions and journals will provided in the discussion assignments. 

    Quizzes will also be given for the chapters. These will be in the Canvas Modules. Quizzes will be part of the homework grade.


    Examinations: All exams will be given in the course modules. Details of the exams will be given. Tests will be given over a 3 day period (including weekends). The dates will be announced in the announcements. Make-up exams will be given only for excused absences with notice.
    * On test days the students will be allowed to use lecture notes on the exam!

    Make-up Work:
    Make-up work will only be accepted if the student presents an acceptable excuse to the instructor. If late work is accepted, you will submit all of the late problem sets. After missing any class, you are responsible for getting the new assignments and completing the work before the next due date.

    Lab Policies:
    Laboratory attendance is required. You should sign in to the lab portion of the course and complete the experiments as instructed.  Laboratory assignments for the experiments will be given each week in the Canvas Modules.  The assignments will be due with the data sheets, analysis, and any pertinent questions answered.  All experiments are contained in the Canvas Modules      

    It is recommended that you keep your homework, journals, and quizzes organized in a three-ring binder and have them with you each class session, so that you are prepared to ask questions about the homework, and for use in exam preparation.

    Final Exam: The Final Examination will be a comprehensive exam with a greater emphasis on the untested material. Typically, the PH114A final has 40% of the content as already tested material, and 60% of the content is untested material.
    * You will be allowed to use your lecture notes on the Final Exam.



    Retrieving Grades from T-BirdWeb Portal
    Go to the New Mexico Junior College T-BirdWeb Portal login page. Please enter your User Identification Number (ID), which is your Banner ID, and your Personal Identification Number (PIN). When finished, click Login.

    Tips for Success in Online Courses:
    1. Log in to class regularly.
    2. Pay attention.
    3. Take notes.
    4. Keep up with readings and assignments.
    5. Ask questions when you do not understand something.
    6. Utilize your professor’s office hours and e-mail.
    7. Read the text.
    8. Adhere to the deadlines posted in the course outline.


    New Mexico Junior College’s institutional student learning outcomes represent the knowledge and abilities developed by students attending New Mexico Junior College. Upon completion students should achieve the following learning outcomes along with specific curriculum outcomes for respective areas of study:


    New Mexico Junior College's broad range of science courses provides students with an opportunity to achieve their academic goals by fostering higher order thinking skills, basic academic success skills, discipline-specific knowledge and skills, and scientific and academic values.
    The course content of astronomy PH 114A supports NMJC’s mission which is “promoting success through learning” by encouraging students to accomplish the following:
    1. Describe the process of scientific inquiry.
    2. Solve problems scientifically.
    3. Communicate scientific information.
    4. Apply quantitative analysis to scientific problems.
    5. Apply scientific thinking to real world problems.


    By the end of this course students should be able to:
    1. Discuss the history of astronomy.
    2. Describe the motions of the sun, moon, and planets in the solar system.
    3. Describe how a telescope works and how it can be used to gather information about the universe.
    4. Discuss the nature of stars and their life cycles.
    5. Discuss the classifications of stars.
    6. Describe the structure and make up of galaxies.
    7. Discuss the possible origins and structure of the universe.
    8. Describe the structure of the solar sytem and describe the
    planets and other objects making it up.
    9. Learn to identify numerous stars and constellations by sight.


    Student Requirements
    If you have not already received login information for Canvas/T-BirdWeb Portal/E-mail, you will need to contact the Enrollment Management office at (575) 492-2546.

    Check first-time login page for instructions at

    Canvas Assistance

    You must have access, on a regular basis, to a computer that supports the Canvas minimum specifications and has an active connection to the Internet. See the minimum computer specification requirements at


    If you are having problems you are encouraged to come see me during my office hours, and there are tutors available, free of charge, in the Library. Contact them at 575.492.2614 for the free tutoring. You can get additional help for free online with Brainfuse in Canvas menu bar on the left.  See the handout for more details. Also feel free to call me for help or see me for other methods of assistance. It is very important for you to seek help if you are having trouble. 

    1) Cheating will not be tolerated.  When taking tests, leave your cell phone in your car or at home.
    2) All students in this classroom are adults and will act as such. Disruptions in the class will not be tolerated. First Offense: student will be given a verbal warning. Second Offense: student will be asked to leave the room and lose attendance point for that day. Third Offense: a conference with the Dean will be necessary before the student may return to class.
    3) Cell phones and pagers will be turned off while you are in the classroom.


    PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION:  Please use appropriate, professional language, grammar and structure in your emails, homework, lab reports, and any other coursework.  I will do the same.  Do not send an email that looks and reads as though it were composed as a text message.




    hi mister can you extend the due date for the accel lab for me plsigot behind bci dont get this stuf thx


    Dear Professor Keranen,

    Would you please allow me until Friday to complete my laboratory report on acceleration?  I am not understanding some of the concepts for this experiment.  Are you available at noon tomorrow so I can get help with it?


    Student who plans to make an A




    NMJC Communication Standard:

    ü  No text language (For example do not use i, BTW, LOL, IDK…)

    ü  Correct spelling and proper capitalization

    ü  Complete sentences (Start a sentence with a capital letter and end it with a period.)

    ü  Logical organization



    Rounding Policy of Grades:

    Grades will be rounded as follows:  The tenths place of 5 or greater will round up to the next percent, and tenths place of 4 or less will round down.  For example, if a student gets 79.5%, the grade will round up to 80% = B.  If a student got 79.4%, the grade would be a C.  





    Students will be held responsible for the information on these pages.

    Academic Honesty
    Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in online academic and professional matters. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet these standards. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other College records. Cheating or gaining illegal information for any type of graded work is considered dishonest and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    Any student requiring special accommodations should contact the Special Needs Student Services Coordinator at (575) 492-2576 or by e-mail at

    Attendance Policy and Participation Expectations
    It is expected that you regularly log into class at least three times weekly and check your Canvas mail to ensure you have not missed any changes/updates. Students are expected to complete discussions/quizzes/tests/ assignments before deadlines expire.

    Canvas Help
    If you experience difficulty with Canvas you may reach the Canvas Helpdesk at, or by calling the 24 hour helpdesk phone at (575) 399-2199.

    The professor is responsible for monitoring and evaluating student conduct and student behavior within the Canvas course. By registering for this class, the student is assumed to have entered into an agreement with New Mexico Junior College and the professor to log into the class regularly and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive behavior may result in the student being removed from the class and dropped for the semester. For comprehensive information on the common rules of netiquette and other online issues, please review the NMJC Online Student Handbook.

    Online Learning Environment
    By participating in an online class, you undertake responsibility for your own progress and time management.

    Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports, or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the academic honesty policy and is considered cheating.

    Tutoring Assistance
    Free tutoring services are available to all NMJC students through Brainfuse and the Academic Success Center located at the Pannell Library on the 1st floor.

    Withdrawal Policy
    The instructor has the right to drop any student who has failed to log on to Canvas for two weeks or more, but it is not guaranteed that the instructor will drop you. If the student chooses to stop attending a class, he/she should withdraw from the class by accessing your student account in the T-Bird Web Portal at, or submitting the required paperwork to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Failure to withdraw yourself from a course by this date may result in your receiving an “F” in the course. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.



    Text Chapters



    Week 1

    Chapter 1 Discovering the night sky

    Introduction and Safety. Scientific Method.

    Exam 0

    Introduction Discussion

    Student Intro. Discussion

    Chapter 1 Hw


    Week 2

    Chapter 2 Gravitation and Motion of the Planets

    Naked Eye Astronomy and Using Stellarium Software. 

    Scientific Inquiry Quiz

    Chapter 2 Hw

    Newton & Galileo Journal



    Week 3

    Chapter 3 Light and Telescopes Part 1

    Using Stellarium Software to Look at Constellations Along the Zodiac

    Chapter 3 Hw Part 1

    Discussion on Telescopes

    The Night Sky Wheel


    Week 4

    Chapter 3 Light and Telescopes Part 2

    Observing the Sun’s Position and Motion

    Chapter 3 Hw Part 2

    Discussion on Quantum Mechanics

    Quiz 1 on Chap. 1 - 3   

    Week 5

    Chapter 4 Formation of the Solar System

    Chapter 5 Exoplanets

    Characterizing Exoplanets

    Chapter 4 Hw

    Chapter 5 Hw

    Discussion on Pluto

    Exam 1 Chap. 1 – 3

    Week 5

    Exam 1 Chap. 1 – 3


    Exam 1 Chap. 1 – 3

    Week 6

    Chapter 6 The Terrestrial Planets and Their Moons

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize the Moon

    Chapter 6 Hw

    Quiz 2 on Chapters 4, 5, & 6

    Week 7

    Chapter 7 The Outer Planets and Their Moons

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize the Planets

    Exam 2 on Chapters 4, 5,  & 6

    Chapter 7 Hw

    Exoplanet Discussion


    Week 7

    Exam 2 Chap. 4 – 6


     Exam 2 Chap. 4 – 6

    Week 8

    Chapter 8 Vagabonds of the Solar System

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize Asteroids

    Chapter 8 Hw

    Giuseppe Piazzi Journal

    The Night Sky Wheel


    Week 9

    Chapter 9 The Sun: Our Extraordinary Star

    Sunspot Lab

    Chapter 9 Hw

    Discussion about the Sun

    Quiz 3 on Chapters 7, 8, & 9

    Week 10

    Chapter 10 Characterizing Stars

    Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram Lab

    Chapter 10 Hw

    Exam 3 Chap. 7 – 9

    Week 10

    Exam 3 Chap. 7 – 9


    Exam 3 Chap. 7 – 9

    Week 11

    Chapter 11 Lives of Stars From Birth Through Middle Age

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize the Orion Constellation

    Chapter 11 Hw

    Discussion on Fusion

    Quiz 4 on Chapters 10 & 11

    Week 12

    Chapter 12 The Deaths and Remnants of Stars

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize Pleiades

    Chapter 12 Hw

    Exam 4 Chap. 10 – 11

    The Night Sky Wheel

    Week 12

    Exam 4 Chap. 10 – 11


    Exam 4 Chap. 10 – 11

    Week 13

    Chapter 13 The Galaxies Part 1

    Using Stellarium Software to Observe and Characterize the Galaxies

    Chapter 13 Hw Part 1

    Discussion on Relativity

    Week 14

    Chapter 13 The Galaxies Part 2 

    Characterizing Galaxies Lab

    Chapter 13 Hw Part 2

    Discussion on Galaxies

    Quiz 5 on Chapters 12 & 13


    Week 15

    Chapter 14 Cosmology

    Hubble Law Lab

    Chapter 15 Hw

    Discussion on Cosmology

    The Night Sky Wheel


    Week 15

    Constellation Project Due on May 1, 2019


    Constellation Project Due on May 1, 2019

    Week 16

    Final Exams

    Tues., May 7 Online All Day







    The instructor has the right to modify the course outline above as course conditions or college circumstances require.