This document is here to help dispel rumors that Astronomy and Space Science at DVHS "Doesn't count for college," "Prevents you from getting into college," or is somehow less of a class than Chemistry or Physics. This message is from the UC a-g site in response to a query from Mr. Adkins. 


    Hi Jeff,


    Thank you for your email.


    A student may fulfill the Area D requirement by doing either of the following (as two possible examples):

    • Student took the Astronomy course to fulfill one year of the 2-year requirement (where Astronomy has met Area D subject requirements and has been UC approved/added to school’s course list with the accompanying discipline of in this case, physics or interdisciplinary sciences)* and took either Biology, Chemistry, or Integrated Science for the other year; OR
    • Student took Biology and Chemistry, and if took Astronomy for the third recommended year, the Astronomy course would fulfill the third recommended year for subject area D (has met subject requirements and has been UC approved/added to school’s course list with the accompanying discipline*)


    Hopefully this adds some clarity, as both scenarios above would be applicable towards fulfilling the subject area D requirement. *Please see the link below for our A-G Policy Resource Guide announcements page for the list of current science disciplines.


    Any follow up questions regarding courses and disciplines for the purpose of student applications can be directed to our admissions policy team at askUC@ucop.edu



    Please feel free to contact us again with any future A-G inquiries.





    High School Articulation Unit

    University of California, Office of the President

    1111 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94607

  • 1st Semester Final Study Guide

    Strikethrough items are not on the 1st semester final

    Introduction and Sun

    1. Use a planisphere (allowed on test) to predict one of the following : what stars are visible, when they are visible, and what date they are visible, given the other two pieces of information.  Note “visible” includes rising, setting, and culminating (crossing the meridian).
    2. Explain how to find coordinates and special locations on the celestial sphere, including zenith, nadir, the horizon, the north celestial pole and the celestial equator.  Understand what the significance of the ecliptic is and how to find it if planets are visible.
    3. Know that your latitude equals the altitude of the north celestial pole (where Polaris is).
    4. Use altitude and azimuth to specify direction.
    5. Explain what causes the analemma, and how it might be different if the earth’s orbit were perfectly circular or if the earth’s axis were not tilted.
    6. Distinguish between Diurnal and Annual motion of the sky and the sun. Describe in detail how the sun’s rising and setting position changes throughout the year.
    7. State the formal definition for the beginnings of the seasons. Explain why the seasons on earth are accompanied by changes in average temperature. Predict the effect on seasons if the earth’s axis were not tilted.  Critique common misconceptions about the seasons connection to the earth’s distance to the sun.
    8. Describe the function of a “henge” and note some of the things it can be used to observe.

    The Moon

    1. Describe how the moons phases appear to change over time.  Draw diagrams which show the moon’s position as seen from above the earth’s north pole, and at the same time show the appearance of the moon from the earth. Name all the phases of the moon and explain how many days it takes for a cycle of the phases to occur.
    2. Explain, using words or pictures, what causes the phases of the moon.
    3. Explain the cause of ocean tides and how the timing of tides is linked to the phase of the moon and the time of day.
    4. Given two of the three things listed, predict the other one: phase of the moon, direction it appears, time of day. 
    5. Tell some basic facts about the first lunar landings (dates, names, how long did it take, etc.) and tell some things we learned by going to the moon such as the three basic kinds of moon rocks, and what the origin of the moon likely was.
    6. Describe the structure of a crater, and be able to sketch one given a specified direction of light.

    7. Describe each of the following in terms of ) what it appears like ) the geocentric explanation and ) the heliocentric explanation: Plane of the Ecliptic ,Retrograde Loops, Inferior/superior, Speed differences, Brightness difference, Heliocentric vs. Geocentric 
    8. Explain how the following scientists improved upon the model of the solar system to make it increasingly realistic: Aristotle,Ptolemy,Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein and how other key figures such as Tycho, Galileo, Adams and Leverrier, etc., contributed. 
    9. Use Kepler’s laws to describe ellipses, and tell how planets go around the sun.  Specifically be able to calculate only two things: eccentricity, and the orbital period of a planet given its semi-major axis. 
    10. Define exoplanet and tell why the Hot Jupiter mystery is puzzling. 
    11. State Einstein’s first postulate and tell the basics of special relativity (“time travel”). Apply this explanation to the “Mercury precesses” mystery. Distinguish between Jovian and terrestrial planets 
    12. List the planets in order from the sun compare planets to each other in general terms list all of the kinds of objects in the solar system.
    13. Define Kuiper Belt object, Oort cloud, asteroid belt, comet explain why astronomers are interested in comets and asteroids.
    14. Define dwarf planet and tell why Pluto got kicked out of the “planet club.”
    15. State something unique about every major planet and large moon (hottest, biggest, has active volcanoes, etc.). 
    16. Write an opinion about why we study other planets.