Astronomy 20 and 25 only

There are two reasons why I offer extra credit. First is to try to get more astronomy crammed in your head than I can in class. Second is to offer a safety net for when you miss a quiz or if you are struggling. You may earn up to 100 points extra credit for regular courses, and up to 40 points extra for honors classes.  If you earn enough extra credit and perform at an outstanding  level in class, then you may not have to take the final exam! All extra credit is optional, of course.

There are many ways to get extra credit.  A list of the possibilities and instructions for them follow.

Basic Rules: Most write ups must be turned in within a week of when you attended/did the work.  Please put your section number at the top of the page along with your name.  All write ups must be typed. All extra credit (except papers or the sunset project) is due approximately one month before final exams (see your course outline for exact due dates).   Note that bonus questions on quizzes, homework sets, and exams do not count towards your extra credit limit.  The extra credit points listed below apply to the regular classes.  Honors students may receive less, depending upon the item and the quality of your work.


A)  One independent study paper (5-10 typewritten pages) may be written for extra credit up to 50 points (typically 20-30). Please see me first to select a topic. You MUST show me an outline of your paper before the 8th week of the semester.  You MUST use at least three references. It must also be IN YOUR OWN WORDS! Final draft is due the 10th week of the semester.

Note that the outline must be DETAILED. It should be the final outline that you produce just before you start typing at the computer. I donít want to just see the table of contents of your references. Each paragraph of the paper should be organized and evident in the outline. See me IN ADVANCE if you donít know how to do an outline like this.

Your paper must include a final paragraph where you summarize the three most interesting things that you learned from writing the paper.

B)  Griffith Park Planetarium. These trips are completely optional. If you go, you need to do the following to receive 15 points extra credit (10 for honors classes):

1. Spend at least an hour in the museum at the planetarium. There are some interesting exhibits! Pick your two favorite exhibits. Write a 1/2-1 page description of each one and what you learned from them. 4 points.

2. Attend the planetarium show. Write a Ĺ-page description of the show and what you learned from it. 4 points.

3. Go upstairs to the observatory after the show (after dark of course) and look through the telescope.  If you go during the day,  observe the Sun through the solar telescope and observe the solar spectrum. Write a paragraph about the telescope and what you saw and learned.  2 points.

4. Attach your ticket stub to your write up and turn it in WITHIN A WEEK! Note: Griffith Park will give you a small white sheet signed by an employee as proof of your attendance. Get one.

You may go every time they change the planetarium show (1-3 times per semester).

C)  ECC Observatory Open Houses allow you to look through telescopes at cool stuff.  Do the following for maximum credit:

1.  Obtain an attendance slip or sign the sign-in sheet.

2.  Come with an open, curious mind.  Ask at least three questions of the staff hosting the open house about the things that you are looking at.  Include the questions along with the answers to them in your write up.  Also, please try to ask interesting questions.  Questions such as "What am I looking at?"  or "What is a planet?" indicate that you are not paying attention in class or at the open house.  Ask questions appropriate for an intelligent, interested college student. 

3.  Observe at least five objects, including at least three that are outside of our solar system.  If conditions are poor, just do the best that you can with what is offered by the staff.  Make sketches of what you see in the eyepiece and include those with your write-up.

4.  Write a 1/2-page summary of your experience and your impressions.  

These are usually posted on the chalkboard in class.  Look for these notices.  I may forget to announce them, so feel free to ask about anything posted on the chalkboard.

D)  Meetings of the South Bay Astronomical Society  (SBAS).  The SBAS usually meets on the first Friday of every month in the ECC planetarium at 7:30 PM.  All meetings are open to the public.  They usually discuss some club business at the beginning, and then an invited speaker gives a talk on some aspect of astronomy and/or space travel.  Ask at least two questions of the speaker, and summarize the evening in a 1-2 page write-up.  The write-up should include the questions that you asked and the answers that you received from the speaker.  Click here for more information on the SBAS.  Due within one week of the meeting.

E)  Astronomy  shows or lectures at ECC or Santa Monica College. Type up a 1-2 page summary of what the speaker talked about. Try to relate what you saw to your interests and to what we learn in class. You must ask at least two questions of the lecturer, and include these along with their answers in your write up. Worth up to 10 points depending on what you got out of it. Due within one week after the lecture.

F)  Trips to Mt. Palomar or Mount Wilson Observatories. Prepare in advance. Learn about the historical significance of these observatories and what they are still doing (you can look this up in books or on the web). Go check out the observatory and take your coat. Type up a summary of your visit and TIE IT IN with the history of the place. 10 points.

G)  Other museums. After you have done at least two from B),  C), D), E),  or F) then you can get extra credit for going to ANY science museum. After spending about an hour in the museum looking at exhibits, go back to your four favorites and spend about 15 minutes at each one really learning the message that they are trying to convey to you. Type up a summary of each exhibit and why you selected it. 10 points. Example of museums include, Natural History Museum, Aerospace Museum, and even the IMAX theater (if an astronomy film is playing) at Exhibition Park, the La Brea Tar Pits, or science museums in other cities you may visit this semester.

H)  Cut out or copy a magazine or newspaper article that relates to astronomy and type up a summary of the article in your own words. Include a copy of the original article with your write-up.  Articles that discuss something that we cover during the semester earn more points.  Most earn 0.5 to 4 points.

I)  Rent a video, watch it, and type up a summary of what you learned from it. Staple the rental receipt for it to your summary. Usually worth 2-4 points, depending on your summary. These videos must be astronomy documentaries.  If you have an idea regarding a different type of movie, check with me first.  Due within one week of your movie rental.

J)  Sunset project. You must start this project within two weeks of the beginning of the semester. It requires weekly observations or photos of a sunset. See me for details. Worth up to 50 points extra.

K)  Moon Sketches.  See Moon Observation Project description and clear it with me in advance.

L) Lunar observations through binoculars or telescopes.  Use the Moon Project sketch sheets, except sketch the appearance through binoculars or a telescope.  Identify and label the features that you see on the Moon using a Moon map.  See me for details.

M)  Got any other ideas? Run them past me. They must be astronomical in nature of course.