Skip to main contentSkip to footer

ASTRON -102 - Planetary Astronomy - Elizabeth Bell

Course:Planetary Astronomy
Professor:Elizabeth Bell
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Moon Lamp

Welcome to astronomy 102.  This course has an open source (OER) option, in which you need not purchase texts unless you prefer a physical book. 

Course Description

Units: 3.00 UC:CSU 54.00 hours lecture

Investigate the variety of planetary systems outside of our solar system and evaluate the many worlds in our solar system. UC credit limitation: No credit for ASTRON-100 if taken after 101 or 102.

What to Expect in this Course

Course Organization:

The course will be organized utilizing modules. Within each module, there will be various tasks, including: video viewing, chapter reading, presentation reading, and homework assignments. 

In addition, there will be weekly discussion board assignments (except during exam weeks), along with exams and a content-specific project and/or term paper.

You should plan on checking the class website at least every other day to keep up with any new announcements and check your course calendar for assignment due dates. 

As this class has no prerequisite, we will not focus on the mathematical sections in your book.  We will primarily focus on the conceptual (with the exception of an introduction to scientific notation and basic arithmetic calculations so that you can learn to read very big and very small numbers, differentiate between sizes in telescopes, and be able to convert hours in various time zones).  I do, however, recommend you are at least at the English 101 level and are comfortable with arithmetic.

Grading is based on a point system, however, each assignment group will be weighted (see 'types of assessments')

Office Hours:

We can meet for office hours either asynchronously (through CANVAS messages in your course), or through ZOOM (at a specified time that works for both of us).

Required for Your Online Course (please have the tools/downloads available prior to the first day of class):

  • All assignments will be submitted in canvas. You may have the option of typing your answers directly into a canvas text box or also submit word documents or pdf files depending on the particular assignment. For some assignments, it may be easiest to submit documents to me using a free app on your phone, AdobeScan or CamScanner or any other app you may already have (iPhone has their own). Make sure you follow the directions for free versions! 
  • You will need regular access to a reliable computer with stable, high-speed internet connection
  • You will need to familiarize yourself with CANVAS (for technical support using Canvas, visit the Canvas Tech Support page for students)
  • You will need a scientific calculator to complete basic math calculations (add, subtract, multiply, divide, square root). Smart phones typically have this functionality. If you access your phone calculator sideways, you may be able to use it as a scientific calculator. 
  • You will need the following software on your computer:  Internet browser (Chrome works best with Canvas), and Microsoft Word (you can download the Microsoft Office Suite for FREE as part of your my.canyons email account)

Types of Assessments

All assessments (with the exception of exams) will be untimed. While you will work at your own pace in this asynchronous class, all assignments WILL have due dates.

Types of assessments to expect (with grade weight percent):

1. Discussions (15%)
2. Video assignments (10%)
3. Homework assignments (20%)
4. Exams (45%)
5. Course-specific project and/or term paper (10%)

Textbook Information

Good news: your textbook for this class is available for free online, in web view and PDF format! You can also purchase a print version, if you prefer, via the campus bookstore or from OpenStax on You can use whichever formats you want. Web view is recommended -- the responsive design works seamlessly on any device. If you buy on Amazon, make sure you use the link on your book page on so you get the official OpenStax print version. (Simple printouts sold by third parties on Amazon are not verifiable and not as high-quality.) 

Astronomy from OpenStax, ISBN 1938168283,

Other Relevant Course Information

I will add from the waitlist, starting from the first day of class, through the first week as additional spots open up. 

If you have any questions or concerns prior to the start of term, feel free to email me.

I am looking forward to meeting all of you!

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/25/2021 Sub#: 1026