Sonoma State University
Spring 2009
Astronomy 100
J.S. Tenn
Term Paper
Due Thursday, April 30, 2009

Your paper may be on any topic in astronomy; however, keep it mind that it is essential that your emphasis is on science.

Instructions for submission of your paper:
Note: All of these instructions must be followed or your paper will not be accepted.
(1) Download and print the cover sheet.
Use a computer printer to print a neat copy, attach the filled out, signed cover sheet to it and submit it in class.

(2) Send an electronic copy of your paper (one document, including bibliography, but without the cover sheet) as an attachment to an e-mail message.

The attachment must be titled A100yourlastname (it may have a suffix such as ".doc" or ".rtf", which will be added by your word processor). The electronic version of your paper must be in one of the following formats: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, rtf, pdf, postscript, plain text, or html. If you use a different word processor, such as Microsoft Works, save it in rich text format (.rtf) or Word (.doc or .docx) format. (You can convert from .wps to .doc using Zamzar.)

I will grade the paper version, and I will submit the electronic version to to check for plagiarism.

Introduction: The term paper is an assignment designed to enable you to learn about one topic in astronomy in depth. The paper should be six to ten (numbered) pages of text, plus footnotes or endnotes and bibliography. It should be double spaced, typed. Late papers will be penalized, very late papers will not be accepted. Choose a topic specific enough that you can learn something about it in a few weeks. Your goal is depth. Include some information not presented in class. Avoid repetition so that you can pack as much content as possible into your paper. I would be happy to talk with you about your paper before you do much work on it. I can advise you whether your topic is suitable (the most common error is choosing a topic too broad), and I can help you find reference material.

Sources: To find recent sources, in books and periodicals and on the web, see Finding and Citing Sources. You can find sources on the web via Favorite Astronomy Links and Educational Resources in Physics, Astronomy, and Related Fields. Articles in periodicals are readily found with online databases. (Professionals find articles in journals via the Astrophysics Data System, but most of the articles indexed in it are too difficult for beginning students.)

Your paper should have at least three sources, including at least one from the world wide web and at least one from a book or article in a periodical. In most cases you should start with your text. List all of your sources in a bibliography at the end. The reference in your bibliography should look something like those depicted in Finding and Citing Sources. Be very careful in using anonymous sources, and note the instructions regarding identifying web sources.

Be sure that you use quotation marks whenever you quote someone, and that you give credit when you take your ideas from a published source, even though you use your own words. You may make your footnotes or endnotes brief, as explained in Finding and Citing Sources.

Illustrations. It is not necessary to illustrate your paper, but if you wish to do so, use photocopies and your own hand or computer-generated art only. I WILL NOT ACCEPT PAPERS CONTAINING ILLUSTRATIONS CUT OUT OF BOOKS OR MAGAZINES. Be sure to cite the source if you use a photocopy or print from the web or some other electronic source.

Helpful hints are available at How to Get a Better Grade on Your Paper. You can get free help with your writing at the SSU Writing Center.

Do not hesitate to ask for help.

Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to