Peking University lecture course - 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy 2016)

General information 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy) 2016
Course number 00432265
Course credits: 2
Lecture hours: 32
Maximum number of students: 150
Prerequisites The course is suitable for all university students with a general interest in astronomy, space science, and cosmology (see the list of previous 现代天文学 students). The course will contain a limited amount of mathematics (see the lectures of last year to get an impression). The entire lecture course, including all homeworks and the final assignment, will be in English. For difficult astronomy words, the Chinese-English astronomy dictionary may be useful. The two student assistants are Chinese, so they can also answer your questions in Chinese.
Lecturer Prof. M.B.N. (Thijs) Kouwenhoven (柯文采)
Contact details
Teaching assistants Mr. Shu Qi (舒琦) - shuqi@pku
Ms. Xie Xiaojia (解小佳) - xiexiaojia@pku
Course times Monday afternoon, 13:00 - 14:50 PM (class hours 5/6)
Location 理教302
Examination 15% - Class attendance and participation (note: the first, second and third lectures do not count)
35% - Homework (three assignments)
50% - Essay (or Research Project). Note that there is no final exam.
The grade statistics of the prevous classes can be found here. Also, here you can find information about majors the students in the previous class.
Homework Three homework assignments will be handed out during the lectures. The assignments should be written in English. English spelling and grammar mistakes are not important (this is not an English class), but of course the answers should be comprehensible. The homework should be handed in on time. Handing in the homework too late will result in a lower grade. You can choose if you want to hand in a hand-written assignment or a computer print-out. Each student should make the homework individually.
Essay The essay should be written in English, and should be roughly 3000 words long, but it can be shorter or longer if you want (I will not count the number of words). You can choose the topic of your essay yourself. You are encouraged to to choose a topic in astronomy or space science that is related to your major. Instructions and examples are provided during the lectures. You should hand in your essay before or on [6 JUNE 2016] during the class  to Xie Xiaojia or Shu Qi. Please also email me a copy of your essay. The essays should be written individually, and plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) is not allowed.
Research Project Instead of an essay, you can also do a small research project related to astronomy. For example, you can write an computer simulation code to solve an astrophysical problem. The deadline for the research report is the same as for the essay. If you are interested, please come and talk to me first. You can come up with your own idea. Doing a research project can be quite complicated and it can cost a lot of time, but you might find interesting new results. The research projects can be carried out individually, or by a group of two students.
Literature You do not need to buy books for this lecture course. However, for your homework, essay, and your general interest, the following books can be very useful. You can find many of these in the Peking University library. Here is a description of serveral useful books. There are many other good books available in the library, on the internet, and the bookstores; explore!
1. «现代天文学十五讲», 吴鑫基,温学诗, 北京大学出版社, 2005
2. «基础天文学», 刘学富, 高等教育出版社, 2004
3. «简明天文学教程»(第二版), 余明, 科学出版社, 2007
4. «天文学教程»(上), 胡中为、萧耐园, 高等教育出版社, 2003
5. «天文学教程»(下), 朱慈墭, 高等教育出版社, 2003
6. «天体物理学», 李宗伟、肖兴华, 高等教育出版社, 2000
7. «天体物理导论», 徐仁新, 北京大学出版社, 2006
8. «Modern Astrophysics», Carroll & Ostlie, Addisson-Wesley, 1996
9. «A brief history of time», Hawking, Bantam Dell Publishing, 1998
Useful links Online Chinese-English astronomy dictionary - check it out!
Astronomy Simulations and Animations
Astronomical Database System (search for scientific publications)
The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
北京大学科维理天文与天体物理研究所
北京大学天文系
国家航天局
国家天文台
2016年2月22日 «Introduction to the course; the History of Astronomy»
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  2. There is no homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to this class:
2016年2月29日 «Observing the night sky»
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  2. There is no homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年3月7日 «The electromagnetic spectrum»
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  2. There is no homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年3月14日 «Telescopes and observing techniques»
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  2. There is no homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年3月21日 «Gravity, planetary orbits, and the Sun»
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  2. Homework 1 is handed out today during the class. Hand in your homework during the class on 28 March 2016.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年3月28日 «The Rocky inner planets: Mercury, Venus, and the Earth-Moon system»
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  2. Deadline for handing in Homework 1. Note that may be some confusion for exercise (1). Exercises (1a) and (1b) refer to 23 May, while exercise (1c) refers to 23 March. However, if you answer (1a/b/c) for 23 March, or if you answer (1a/b/c) for 23 May, this will also be acceptable. 
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年4月4日 Qingming holiday - no class today
2016年4月11日 «The Earth, the Moon, and Mars»
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  2. Homework 1 returned (brief answers); no new homework today. 
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年4月18日 «Asteroids, Gas Giants, and the Outer Solar System»
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  2. Homework 2 handed out; the deadline is next week! 
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年4月25日 «Interstellar medium, star formation, stellar evolution»
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  2. Homework 2 deadline today! 
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年5月2日 Labour Day holiday - no class today
2016年5月9日 «Stellar evolution (cont'd), planet formation, exoplanet detection»
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  2. Homework 2 returned (brief answers); no new homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年5月16日 «Star clusters, the Milky Way, and computer simulations»
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  2. Homework 3 handed out today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年5月23日 «Galaxies and cosmology»
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  2. Deadline for handing in Homework 3.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年5月30日 «Black holes, Cosmology, and the Big Bang»
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  2. Homework 2 returned (brief answers); no new homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年6月6日 «Life in the Universe»
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  2. No homework today.
  3. Websites relevant to today's class:
2016年6月6日 Deadline for handing in your essay or research project report: [6 JUNE 2016]. You must hand in the essay during the class, or you can bring it later to the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA). You can give it to Xie Xiaojia, to Shu Qi, or to Thijs Kouwenhoven (room 201). To be absolute sure that your essay is received on time, you are recommended to ALSO send an email with the essay to the teacher. Make sure that you write your name and student number on the first page of the essay. Of course, you can also hand in your essay or research project report before the deadline. Good luck!

Peking University lecture course - 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy 2015)

General information 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy) 2015
Course number 00432265
Course credits: 2
Lecture hours: 32
Maximum number of students: 150
Lecturer Prof. M.B.N. (Thijs) Kouwenhoven (柯文采)
Contact details
Teaching assistants Mr. Yunfeng Chen (陈云峰)
Mr. Zhen Guo (郭震)
Course times Monday afternoon, 13:00 - 14:50 PM (class hours 5/6)
Location 理教103
Examination 15% - Class attendance and participation (note: the first, second and third lectures do not count)
35% - Homework (three assignments)
50% - Essay (or Research Project). Note that there is no final exam.
The grade statistics of the 2014 class can be found here. Also, here you can find information about majors the students in the 2014 class.
2015年3月2日 «The History of Astronomy»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Your teacher is abroad on a conference today, so there is no class on 2 March. However, the two student assistants (Yunfeng Chen and Zhen Guo) will be in the lecture room to answer many of your questions. They will also provide you with hand-outs (download PDF) that contain information about the lecture course.
No homework today.
2015年3月9日 «The Night Sky»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Try to download and play with Stellarium and Celestia! You can find Celestia add-ons here. Also take a look at Google Mars and Google Moon.  No homework today.
2015年3月16日 «The Physics of Astrophysics; Light and other forms of radiation»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Check out Beijing Planetarium if you want to see the night sky at daytime. More information about magnitudes, sidereal/solar days, and sidereal/synodic months.  No homework today.
2015年3月23日 «Telescopes and Astronomical Observing»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
No homework today
2015年3月30日 «Gravity, Planetary Orbits, and the Sun»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Check the size of the Solar system here. View the video of the flying dog here. Homework 1 handed out. Please write the answers of your homework on a separate piece of paper and hand it in next week.
2015年4月13日 «The Rocky inner planets: Mercury, Venus, and the Earth-Moon system»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Deadline for handing in Homework 1.
2015年4月20日 «The Earth; the Moon, Mars, and Space Exploration»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Homework 1 handed back (brief answers). No new homework today.
2015年4月27日 «Asteroids; the Gas Giant Planets, and the Outer Solar system»
high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Homework 2 handed out
2015年5月11日 «Interstellar Gas; The Formation and Evolution of Stars»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Deadline for handing in homework 2
2015年5月18日 «Stellar Evolution; Planet Formation»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Homework 2 handed back (brief answers). No new homework today.
2015年5月25日 «Star clusters; Astrophysical Computer Simulations, the Milky Way»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Homework 3 handed out
2015年6月1日 «Galaxies and Cosmology»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Deadline for handing in homework 3
Extra lecture slides: the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Synthesis Telescope (Guiyang):
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
2015年6月8日 «Einstein's Relativity and the Big Bang Theory»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
Download the "Scale of the Universe" movie (original source). Homework 3 handed back (brief answers). No new homework today.
2015年6月15日 «Life in the Universe»
 high-resolution PDF / low-resolution PDF
No homework today. Essay deadline. Hand in your essay during the class today. Also email the essay to me (kouwenhoven@pku).
Follow your dreams!

Peking University lecture course - 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy 2014)

General information 现代天文学 (Modern Astronomy) 2014
Course number 00432265
Course credits: 2
Lecture hours: 32
Maximum number of students: 150
Prerequisites The course is suitable for all university students with a general interest in astronomy and cosmology, and will contain a limited amount of mathematics. The lecture course, including all assignments, will be entirely in English.
Lecturer Prof. M.B.N. (Thijs) Kouwenhoven (柯文采)
Contact details
Teaching assistants Mr. Congyao Zhang
Ms. Xiaochen Zheng
Course dates Monday, week 1-16
Course times 13:00 - 14:50 PM (class hours 5/6)
Location 二教205 
Examination 15% Class attendance and participation (note: the first and second lectures do not count. They are "free")
35% Homework
50% Essay (or Research Project)