HOMEWORK INFORMATION FOR VARIABLE STAR COURSE
There will be six homework assignments due throughout the semester. These will be done using the on-line CAPA homework software, at http://capa.etsu.edu/. For directions on how to use the software, go to http://www.etsu.edu/physics/bsmith/variable/capa_directions.html. User names and passwords will be emailed to students at the beginning of the semester.
The due dates for these assignments are posted below. The assignments can be done ANY time before the due date (they can all be done during the first week of classes, if the student desires), but they MUST be done before the posted due date. After that time, access to the assignment will be prohibited by CAPA. It is advised that the homework be done as soon as possible. The first three assignments must be done before the student is allowed to use the telescope on their own.
It is advised that, before trying the
homework, the student print out the assignment and review it. You are only
allowed THREE TRIES at each problem, so review the material well before
starting the homework set, and be sure that you have the correct answer before
entering it. Most of the first and
second assignments will be review of material covered in Astronomy I and II
(the night sky, celestial coordinates, magnitudes, and basic information on
telescopes). Most of this material will be in the astronomy textbook and lab
manuals used for Astronomy I and Astronomy II. Some additional required
material on coordinate systems is available on-line at the
The third assignment covers the basic
equipment and setup of the 14" telescope at the ETSU observatory. This
homework assignment must be done before the student is allowed to use the telescope
on his/her own. A detailed manual describing how to set up and use the
telescope will be provided at the beginning of the semester. After the students
have studied these, there will be a telescope orientation session for the class
at the telescope, where the instructor will review this material. The student
should then study this material and then
The fourth assignment covers CCDs and photometry. At the beginning of the semester, the
instructor will hand out a copy of a manuscript on photometry using CCDs, written by W. Romanishin at
The fifth assignment will cover stellar evolution. Most of this material will be review of material covered in Astronomy II. This material will be in the textbook used for Astronomy II.
The last assignment will cover more detailed information on variable stars. Additional material on variable stars (from the American Association of Variable Star Observers) can be found on their website: http://www.aavso.org/vstar/ and links from that site. This material should be studied before attempting this homework set.
The homework assignments and due dates are:
1. The Night Sky, magnitudes, and Coordinate Systems: Friday of the second week of classes.
2. Light and Telescopes: Friday of the third week of classes.
3. The ETSU Telescope: Friday of the third week of classes.
4. CCDs and Photometry: Friday of the fourth week of classes.
5. Stellar Evolution: Friday of the sixth week of classes.
6. Variable Stars: Friday of the eighth week of classes.