Planetary Sciences 206
Section 1 – Dr. Steve Kortenkamp
Our Golden Age of Planetary Exploration
SYLLABUS – Fall 2011
The course is intended for non-science majors but will involve mathematics. A student who
successfully completes the course should have a modern picture of the Solar System, together with
some understanding of the discoveries and reasoning which lead to this picture.
Lectures will be given TTh from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in Kuiper Space Sciences 308.
Homework will generally be assigned on Tuesdays and will be due in class one week later before
the next Tuesday lecture begins. Homework MUST be submitted electronically to turnitin.com
AND as a paper copy in class.
There will be three midterm examinations. The exams will cover all aspects of the course,
including lectures, homework, and the observing project. The exams may include a mixture of
multiple-choice and short-answer questions.
Course web page: www.lpl.arizona.edu/undergrad/classes/fall2011/Kortenkamp_206/
The Turning Technology Student Response “clickers” will be used in this class. They are
available at the Student Union Bookstore.
General Course Policy:
Dean of Students Policies and Procedures will be strictly enforced:
Academic Integrity: Both students and faculty are bound by the University's Code of Academic
Integrity which covers many forms of academic dishonesty. The Code's basic premise is that work
submitted in your name must be the result of your own scholarly efforts.
Homework, In-Class Activities, Observing Project and Exams:
There will be about 4 homework assignments during the course. The assignments will be
announced in class and will be available for download from the course website. The assignment
MUST be submitted electronically to turnitin.com AND as a paper copy in class. Solutions will
be posted on the class website. To ensure fairness to all students, late homework will not be
accepted. There will be at least one week to finish each homework assignment.
We will have occasional work to be completed in-class. The type of in-class activities will vary
and may include “quizzes” in a format similar to the exams. You may work together with a group
of a few students to discuss these activities, but will be expected to hand in your own work. The
activities will be due at the end of the class in which they are assigned. The purpose of these
activities is to go over material related to the homework and to acquaint you with the format of the
All exams in the class will be closed book and closed notes. They will be based on the lectures,
homework, and observing project. The mid-term exams will be held during regular class hours
and will be due by the end of the period. The dates of the exams will be posted on the class web
page and announced in class. Exhibiting suspicious behavior during an exam may result in
confiscation of your exam and/or a zero for the exam grade.
Early, Late, and Alternative Exams:
Alternative mid-term exams will be available for students who are absent either for University-
approved activities (prior notice required), or due to illness (documented with a doctor's note). For
all exams taken outside of either the scheduled exam period or the class lecture hall (e.g., at the
DRC) the instructor reserves the right to use an alternative exam format from that used for the
regular in-class exam. This alternative format is likely to be more difficult than the regular in-
The following grading scale will be used for this class.
A: 90% and higher
B: 80% - 89%
C: 70% - 79%
D: 55% - 69%
E: below 55%
Final grades will be based on cumulative performance on exams, observing projects, homework
and in-class work (e.g., quizzes). The percentage breakdown of each is listed below:
30% Sunrise/Sunset Observing Project
7% In-Class Activities
The final grade will be determined on the work that you do for the class. The distribution of
grades for the entire class will not necessarily be based on a “curve.” However, if special
circumstances warrant it, the instructor may choose to modify the distribution. For those cases in
which the final cumulative score is just below one of the borderlines, a higher grade may be given.
This will be based on several factors including an exceptionally positive performance gradient
during the course, and the perceived effort put into the observing project. In order to be
considered for a grade higher than that corresponding to your class score, you MUST have
completed all course work!
In the Classroom:
The enrollment for this class is usually very large. Use common sense and courtesy in the
classroom. Please turn cell phones and other potentially disruptive devices off. No food or drink
is permitted in the classroom (except for bottled water). Please, arrive early enough so that we can
start on time. Showing up late (and leaving early) leads to a disruption and is not fair to those
students who wish to participate in the class. Of course, there are often unavoidable reasons for
arriving late. If you arrive late, or must leave early, please do so as quietly as possible and use the
door located at the north side of the auditorium. Other forms of class disruption are not
acceptable. Reading newspapers during class is unacceptable. The instructor may choose to drop a
student for persisting in disrupting the class using the Administrative Drop procedure.
Regular attendance is essential to do well in this course. Whether present in class or not, however,
you are responsible for remaining aware of class activities and submitting assigned work on the
Errors in Grading:
Occasionally errors in grading may occur. If you spot such an error, you must call it to the
attention of the TA or instructor within one week. An effort will be made to hand back material
in a timely manner. Make sure to review all of your handed-back material as soon as possible.
Note that you can only discover an error in grading if you pick up your graded material and review
Extra Credit: There may be opportunities for extra credit assignments in this course. If so, these
will be announced either in class or over the course twitter feed. In addition, the instructor often
will issue significant bonus points on the observing project for exceptional work that goes above
and beyond the nominal description of the project.
Honors Credit: If you wish to earn honors credit please see the instructor to design
an honors contract.