Astr 296, Spring 2022, Dr Olszewski
Tuesdays at 4pm in Steward N210

This syllabus is the version of January 12, 2022. Given the status of COVID,
I may need to make substantial changes to this syllabus at short notice.
If that occurs, I will email the class and make and date changes on the website and in D2L.

You might find this web page useful:

Since we are in the era of COVID-19 Omicron, the rules have to be
somewhat changeable and fluid.  Until the UArizona tells us to change
to remote learning, this class is "in person." You are expected to
come to class.

I will make accommodations for illness, be it COVID or
the Flu or the Common Cold. But please contact me at in advance. You will need to make
up material: we can discuss timescales individually.

Please please don't come to class sick, or if you suspect that
you're getting sick. Email me ( and let's make a plan.

Please obey the social distancing rules and mask rules (N94 or better). Neither
I nor the other speakers nor your fellow students want you to get us sick, or us to get you sick.

I have dropped the attendance rules for this semester. BUT the easiest
way to get your work done is to come to class. Who wants to watch a
video at the last moment before an essay is due? You're also in this
class because you want to meet (to the extent COVID allows) a set of
people who you might someday be.

Syllabus and Rules of the Class

We meet in Steward Room N210. It's large enough that we can be social distanced.

We meet from 4:00pm to 5:00 pm (one hour... the UA thinks we ought to
meet for 75 min).

At each class, we have a different speaker who will tell you about the
astronomy or astronomy-related work they do.

Who I am:
Professor Edward Olszewski (ol shef ski)
Office: Steward 316

email: (I have other email addresses, but I
prefer this one).

If I email you from D2L it will be from the ua-approved account
eolszews, or from, but i'd be grateful if
you'd use to contact me).

Class Hours:
The uaccess schedule says that we meet Tuesdays from 4:00-5:15. We
meet, actually 4:00-5:00 (not 4:50).

Office hours:
There are no formal office hours for this class. You are free
to talk to me before or after class, and by appointment.
If you want/need an appointment, simply email
and we'll work together to find a good time.

Course Calendar:

Text and Exams:
 This is a 1-credit seminar course, your grade is from essays due the
 Sunday night after each class. There is no textbook, there is no exam. There is no Final Exam.

Main Class Objectives and Outcomes:
a) To meet (at least to see) a wide variety of astronomers, many of whom you likely
won't meet in required classes.

b) To hear about current research in different fields of astronomy.

c) To excise and to write about two or three main points from a talk
whose topic might be unfamiliar to you.

d) to get better at item c during the semester.

So, at the end of the class you should have a better idea of many
types of Science and Engineering that fall under "astronomy."

You should have improved your ability to hear and retain information
from talks on subjects new to you.

You should be able to write cogently about those topics, at least to
recognize the major points.

You ought to recognize "major points" from "details." My comments on
your 14 or 15 short essays will lead you through this.

Grading scheme:
Your grade is based upon the short essays from each class.

 An "essay" is due the Sunday night after each class, before
11:59pm on that Sunday.  You will hand it in in dropbox on D2L. I will
post grades and comments from me to you, on D2L dropbox, too.  The
essay should show that you managed to figure out roughly 3 or so
important points about the talk, and can write coherently about those
points.  A typical essay is concise but complete, and is roughly
0.5-1.0 pages long.  Note-I do not accept "crappy, slow or no
internet" as an excuse. Finish by 11pm and then you can run off to a
place with working wireless if your apartment's internet fails.

You do not need to read or to quote articles outside the talk.
Speaking of quoting, no quotations are allowed. Put everything in your own words.

How I grade the essays:
I look for a credible essay. That meansgetting your facts straight and getting the "size" of the facts
straight. This is not a competition. I basically give you full credit if your essay is credible, and, at
least early in the semester, I might give a bad essay a chance to be rewritten. I also expect that
you improve throughout the semester. (Note that I do not post the speakers' powerpoints. You must take good notes.
No cell phone photography of the slides. COVID forces me to post a recording of the lecture.)

In a typical semester I give out 3/4ths A's, 1/4th B's, and a
smattering of lower grades.

If you hand in a credible essay (not perfect) each week, you get an A.
If you hand in a bad essay, I will either ask you to rewrite it or give you a zero for it.
(I have never yet given a zero.)

You get one free missed essay without your grade being affected.
If you miss two essays, you get a B. If you miss 3 you get a C, etc.

For illness accommodation, you must contact me in advance of the class
and arrange an essay accommodation.

Let me know in advance if you need other accommodation. Talk to me before
the accommodation becomes an issue.

If you need to go observing and will miss a class, talk to me in
advance for accommodation.

The rule of thumb is, again, to talk to me in advance, and I will
accommodate you IF I CAN.  A regular doctor's appointment is probably not a
good excuse (I have doctor's appts, too), but talk to me anyway.

To request a disability-related accommodation to this attendance
policy, please contact the Disability Resource Center at (520)
621-3268 or If you are experiencing
unexpected barriers to your success in your courses, the Dean of
Students Office is a central support resource for all students and may
be helpful. The Dean of Students Office is located in the Robert
L. Nugent Building, room 100, or call 520-621-7057.

In addition: At the University of Arizona, we strive to make learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience barriers based on disability or pregnancy, please contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268, to establish reasonable accommodations.

Integrity and Conduct:
I believe in and abide by the UA's rules on Academic Integrity and Academic Conduct and Accommodation.

Your essays and notes:
It's sometimes hard to know where the line is between cheating on your essay and having a fruitful conversation with a classmate.
Let me try to define it:
You may talk to other students about the lecture/visit and may talk about what the most important points are.
You may not share notes, either from class or from chatting with other students.
You therefore must go off, alone, to write.

1) Sickness
    If you feel sick, or if you need to isolate or quarantine based on University protocols, stay home. Except for seeking medical care, avoid contact with others and do not travel.
    Notify your instructor(s) if you will be missing a course meeting or an assignment deadline.  
    Non-attendance for any reason does not guarantee an automatic extension of due date or rescheduling of examinations/assessments.   
    Please communicate and coordinate any request directly with your instructor.  
    If you must miss the equivalent of more than one week of class, please contact the Dean of Students Office to share documentation about the
     challenges you are facing.
    Voluntary, free, and convenient COVID-19 testing is available for students on Main Campus.
    If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are participating in on-campus activities, you must report your results to Campus Health. To learn more about the process for reporting a positive
     test, visit the Case Notification Protocol.
   The COVID-19 vaccine and booster is available for all students at Campus Health.
   Visit the UArizona COVID-19 page for the most up-to-date information.

2) Physical and mental-health challenges: If you are facing physical or mental health challenges this semester, please note that Campus Health provides quality medical and mental health care. For medical appointments, call (520) 621-9202. For After Hours care, call (520) 570-7898. For the Counseling & Psych Services (CAPS) 24/7 hotline, call (520) 621-3334.

3) More COVID information:
As we enter the Spring semester, the health and well being of everyone in this class is the highest priority. Accordingly, we are all required to follow the university guidelines on COVID-19 mitigation. Please visit for the latest guidance.