Web page for CCSF Astronomy 1 Online, Fall 2015

If you are seeing a lot of annoying markings on this web page (empty boxes, or black diamonds containing question marks), please go to the “view” menu of your browser, select “character/text encoding,” and then chose “Western (Windows)” and this page miraculously will look nice and neat.  If you do not have “Western (Windows)” as an option, any other “Western” setting will be much better than the default “Unicode” (although I recommend switching back to “Unicode” after leaving this page-- since leaving it at a “Western” setting supposedly weakens the security of your browser).


If you ever tried to send me messages to cbryja@ccsf.edu, I am unlikely to have read them.  That address tends to fill with spam, and it freezes up when it gets overfull.  If you have any questions about this course, please e-mail me at claia@phch.org instead.  Although, I do sometimes find important messages from my students in my spam folder for that address too, so it’s not perfect either.  #sigh#  Lately, I have been attempting to use a new account ( claia.bryja@mail.ccsf.edu ) exclusively for communicating with students, but I admit that I only check that one every few days (and even less often over the summer).


I do not require students to check in when they register, so please don’t send me e-mail unless you have a question that needs answering. 


The textbook for the course is the 6th edition of “The Essential Cosmic Perspective” (not the full length version that lacks the word “essential” in the title, and not any of the five earlier editions of the same name), by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, and Voit (ISBN # 978-0-32-171536-4).  It is available in a cheaper loose leaf binder version as well as regular paperback, and it is cheapest and most efficient to purchase an electronic copy.


Important Notice #1:  This course requires a mid-term exam and a final exam that must be taken in person at the CCSF main campus.  (Multiple times for taking these exams will be offered, so personal scheduling is not likely to be a concern as long as you are in the Bay Area during the mid-term and finals weeks.)  Please do not enroll in this course if you cannot attend exams in mid-October and mid-December.


I will hold an optional but highly recommended orientation in Rosenberg Library Room 414 at these times:


Wednesday, August 19th, from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM, and

Saturday, August 22nd, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM

(you may choose either one of these times to attend)


Simply joining the class without any orientation is okay, but a majority of students do experience problems or suffer confusion (especially regarding the course structure and expectations) that an in-person orientation would reduce.  Indeed, every semester has at least a couple of students who, as a consequence of skipping the orientation, miss some very significant part or aspect of the class.  These students usually drop when finally, months later, they realize their mistake.  Most of what I say at the orientation will be repeated in online text-based announcements, but it’s much more effective to hear it from me personally.


As soon as the new semester starts, you may begin the course on your own, regardless of whether you plan to attend the optional orientation.  You will be emailed instructions how to login to CCSF’s new Insight system.  If you have not received these instructions by Monday, August 17th, you most likely are not checking the account that CCSF has on file as your email address.  Unless you have set it up otherwise, the default is the “mail.ccsf.edu” address assigned to you by the college, so please be sure to check that for messages.  I also often will use your CCSF email address for sending important announcements to the class, and for communicating with individual students.


Important Notice #2:  This course is “front loaded” in the sense that students are expected to work hard right away, but not so much in the last week of the semester (which is the opposite of most college courses).  We will start working at a rather fast pace, from which it will be difficult to catch up if you begin the class more than a few days late.  Because of this, and because I often have a very long list of additional students waiting to get in if space is available, I may drop you from the course if you do not access the class and begin work within the first seven days.


If you want to add the class late:

This semester offers two sections of the same course (twice as many as usual), so I expect to have plenty of available space.  My only concern-- and, after the first week, this becomes a very big concern-- is that you’d be getting a late start to fast-paced course.  If you intend to add, please do so as promptly as possible and be prepared to start work immediately!

Late adders must email me at claia@phch.org to receive an add code.  When you receive your four digit code, you will have 48 hours to use the code to register for the course through Web4.  Within hours of registering, you should be able access the class on Insight.  I will un-enroll any late adding student who takes longer than seven days between when they register and when they actively start completing assigned coursework.


I look forward to meeting everyone-- either on line or in person-- as this course takes off!




Claia (rhymes with "hi ya!") Bryja (pronouncing the “y” like a long-I the same as the “ai” diphthong in my first name, and pronouncing the "j" in the usual English way)


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Here is a link to a great resource of other links to anything and everything you can think of about astronomy.  I encourage you to browse.


AstroPlace (unfortunately, this seems to be defunct, so I will need to replace this link with something comparable sometime soon)


Finally, here’s my favorite webpage of all:

Astronomy Picture of the Day