Answers To Mastering Astronomy Homework

Chabot College Astronomy

FAQ page!

Scott Hildreth

Our online and on-campus classes will take advantage of some fantastic online tutorials produced to supplement the Cosmic Perspective textbook.  I've incorporated the tutorials for more than 10 years now, and students in previous classes have shared that they felt the tutorials were some of the most useful tools in their successful mastery of our course material. 


If your question isn't answered, please email me! (


Using the Mastering Astronomy site will require:

- A one-time use access PIN code, included with the new textbook or available separately online (~ $60) at

- A personal userid and password, created at the Mastering Astronomy site the first time you login.

- A computer and web browser suitably configured to run Flash, not block pop-up's from the site, support cookies and java, and support 1024x768 resolution.  Specific technical requirements and links to required browser plug-in's are provided at MasteringAstronomy's support site.

If at any time you have problems logging into Mastering Astronomy, or you need help with an access code that doesn't seem to work, you can contact their technical support department directly.  See more information below for help.  Email me or copy me on any email you send so that I can stay aware of your situation.  Remember that you can always use our default student logins to the system to view and try the tutorials (not for credit, but at least to see them).

Step 1: Your first time logging into Mastering Astronomy

Register at Mastering Astronomy using the access PIN code provided with your new textbook. If you don't have one, or bought a used text with an invalid code you can buy it on-line when you click on the link above.  Be sure in to select the current edition of "Essential Cosmic Perspective", no matter what book you might have purchased or might be borrowing.

Or, if you wish, you can purchase a e-book along with MasteringAstro, for ~$78. You'll only need the PIN code once. (We are using the 6th edition of "The Essential Cosmic Perspective", and even if you buy a used book of a different edition, you'll still want to click on this book.)  You'll be able to create your own userid and password; I recommend using the same as your BLACKBOARD account, or your own personal email.

Specific instructions for each class are provided here as hyperlinks:

Astronomy 10-1 Tue/Thu 1:30 PM
Spring 2014, CRN 32029
Astronomy 20-2 Mon/Wed 10:30 AM
Spring 2014, CRN 30418
Mastering Astronomy Course ID:

Mastering Astronomy Course ID:

Click here  for instructions on how to login to Mastering Astronomy for our Astro 10 On-campus course
Click here for instructions on how to login to Mastering Astronomy for both our Astro 20 On-campus course


When you select your course, and enter your appropriate Course ID, you'll be asked to enter a student ID number as well.  Please enter your Chabot W number when prompted.

Step 2. Accessing the tutorials and extra credit assignments

  • Homework items that are in assignments list are graded. While you may start and stop the homework assignments at any time, and resume them later, once they are submitted, the grade is automatically recorded.

  • Your grades will show up in the Scores area - but only after the deadline for the assignment passes.  If you finish an assignment and want to check your result, you can click on it again to verify your % achievement.

  • The study area is terrific, with quiz questions for every chapter (many of which actually will be used in the exams!)  You'll also find *all* of the animated tutorials that appear in the homework assignments.
  •  You may work tutorials and try quizzes in the study area as many times as you like, and this work is not graded.  I won't see your work here, and you won't get credit for it, but nonetheless you should take advantage of the many study tools available.
  • Students who want to maximize their grade should practice the tutorials in the self-study area before doing them "for real" in the assignments.

2a.  Click on the Assignments in the assignment list and see what is listed there.  For example, you might see the following (from homework assignment #1)

2b. Most assignments also include interactive tutorials (that students in the past have shared were the most useful resources to help them learn key concepts !)


Tutorials are interactive, with questions to answer, sliders to move, and activities to try.  DOING them will give you 50% credit, no matter what you get right.

Tutorials finish with a short summary quiz of 5-7 questions.  Your FIRST answer to the questions is what matters.  You earn 50% credit for correct-on-the-first-try answers to those questions

Tutorials typically take 10 - 20 minutes.


2c. When you are ready to begin the Tutorial in the Assignment list, click on the underlined blue hyperlink. You will next see two frames, a left frame with an image and a right frame with instructions on the available options.  Among those instructions are "Launch Tutorial", "Submit", and "Submit Part".  Note that only the "Launch Tutorial" button will be active (blue) the first time you see this screen.



2c. Click on the LAUNCH TUTORIAL button to begin the tutorial.  Be sure your screen resolution is set to 1024x768 so that you can see the controls in the lower right hand corner of the tutorial screen.







Step 3: Working on a tutorial & Getting a Grade

As  you work through the various parts of the tutorial, you'll be able to skip around or review topics in any order.  The tutorials have a navigation menu at the top:

Note that SOME of the tutorials have mathematical questions (looking for simple ratios or numeric answers.)  If these stump you, don't worry - do your best.  Remember that in our class, there will never be mathematical questions on the exams, and the math concepts within the tutorial are meant to help.  Don't skip the numerical steps, but don't be afraid if you answer them incorrectly.  Your answers to individual questions in the lessons DO NOT count towards your grade - you can miss them without penalty.

Be sure to complete all of the lessons as you move through the tutorial, as 50% of your score will depend upon whether you complete everything.

  At the conclusion of each tutorial will be a brief set of review questions.  These do count.  Your overall score for a tutorial will be based 50% on your FIRST answers to the final review questions, and 50% on completing everything. 

You do NOT have to complete the entire tutorial in one sitting - you can stop and resume it later if you prefer - but you MUST quit and save your work if you do not want to start over.


Step 4: Progressing through the tutorials, & Saving your work to Continue Later

As you move through a tutorial, you will see the navigation menu in the lower corner. Look for a little letter at lower right on the the page. (On some computer screens the S is far to the right and you have to scroll down to the right and down to see it.)  

4a) Click the "S" button to Save.  You can also use the "S" button to stop the tutorial temporarily, and resume it later.

4b)  You'll see your progress as a percentage in the assignment window:


If you aren't done, you can re-launch the tutorial anytime to finish (before the due date, of course.)  Remember that you need to do all parts of the tutorial activities to get 50% credit (including using the slider bars and answering intermediate questions.)  Then, be sure to complete the summary exercises and questions at the end of the tutorial.  Your first answer to those questions will be used to determine the remaining 50% credit.


Save your work after you have finished the exercises, using the "S" button in the lower right corner.  You are ready to submit your work for a grade!




Step 5: Completing a Tutorial and Submitting it for Credit, or Stopping to Continue Later

After clicking on the "SAVE" button, the tutorial will stop and you will be back in the original screen with the "Launch Tutorial" window.

Step 5 (Optional) Submit Feedback to Me, & Ask Questions!

There is a also a submit item button on the right hand frame. It allows you to provide feedback on the assignment, or report a problem. Click on it if you wish to complete a brief survey about your experiences with the activity.  When you do this, I'll automatically get an email message informing me of your question, and I can reply to help you out.  (Note that this will be sent outside of Blackboard.)






Step 6: Check your results are recorded.

Further Advice

If you have followed the directions carefully above, already tried enter your score a few times, to no avail, please send an email to both the instructor and mastering astronomy support.

If you want to PRACTICE a tutorial first, before trying it for a grade, click on the Study Area tab at the top. 

You can try the same tutorials (and terminology quiz questions) without penalty first, and then redo the tutorial for credit by following the process above (using the assignment list.)






Default Mastering Astronomy Userids for Your Course

If you ever have problems accessing the tutorials from your account, you can use the default userid and password I have set up for our course.  Please note that you CANNOT get credit for work done under this ID, and the name, password, and associated email IDs must not be changed.


  • Spring 2014 Astro 10 Tuesday/Thursday 1:30 PM

userid: chabotastro10

password: spring2014

Spring 2014 Astro 20 Monday/Wednesday 10:30 AM

userid: chabotastro20

password: spring2014


Mastering Astronomy Help Information

For questions related to registration or log-in, please visit and complete the appropriate online form.

Pearson technical support is available Monday-Friday, 9am to 6pm, Eastern Time (US and Canada) by calling 800-677-6337.

For all other questions regarding MasteringAstronomy,  please check,  which contains announcements and frequently asked questions that may solve your problem right away. If this site doesn't solve your problem, please contact us via the Customer Service form linked from and from the MasteringAstronomy home page.  

MasteringAstronomy technical support is also available Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) by calling 888-547-4415. (We prefer contacting us via the quick form at is usually faster and more reliable.)



Unformatted text preview: Just get it finished by the due date and time. IF YOU HAVE DIFFICULTIES - any questions or problems getting started - then I suggest that you come to a weekly help session on Tuesday, 4:30-5:30 pm or 7:00-8:00 pm in NSC 119 or come to my office hours Wednesday 10-11 am. AUTHORIZED AIDE: You are to do your own work on this assignment. You may refer to the textbook. If you have difficulty with a question, you may discuss it with me or with another student, but you must answer the questions yourself. TO DO ON-LINE 1. Welcome to MasteringAstronomy 2. Introduction to Vocabulary, 3. (based on Text 1-25 - cosmic order) 4. (based on Text 1-26) 5. (based on Text 1-29) ---------------------------------------------------------------- Help Session: Tuesday, January 17, 4:30-5:30 pm in NSC 119 Tutorial Session (with tutor): Tuesday, January 17, 7:00-8:00 in NSC 119 Thursday, January 19, 8:00-9:00 in NSC 119...
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