PX15810 Astronomy
Introductory description
Astronomy is the study of everything that occurs beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The module covers the concepts and techniques that are the basis of astronomy. It investigates a diverse range of astronomical objects, ranging from planets, to stars and galaxies, to the Universe as a whole. We focus on the fundamental properties of these objects, such as their masses, sizes, distances and temperatures. We will see that understanding of what is observed requires understanding of fundamental physics, particularly in relation to gravity and light, as well as mathematics.
Module aims
To describe the constituent objects of the Universe and the physics needed to estimate their distances, sizes, masses and natures. The module will show how our knowledge of the Universe beyond Earth relies upon the application physical theories and experimental techniques.
Outline syllabus
This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.
Description of the main constituents of the Universe with typical sizes, masses and distances covering: planets, stars, blackholes, and galaxies.
Angles, distances & sizes: angular size and the smallangle approximation; trigonometric parallax; simple astronomical telescopes, spectrographs, and detectors.
Masses: the Doppler effect and the measurement of speed from spectra; the use of speeds and sizes to derive masses in the Solar System, binary stars, star clusters and galaxies.
Physical properties of stars: stellar temperatures; spectra and elemental compositions. Physical conditions within stars.
Galaxies: the Milky Way; galaxy types, galaxy evolution.
The Universe: Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the Universe; implication of a finite age; the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background; the composition of the Universe.
Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
 Demonstrate understanding, and make use, of concepts in astronomy, including astronomical coordinates, angles, fluxes, and magnitudes
 Identify, describe, and demonstrate understanding of the main constituents of the Universe, including planets, stars, black holes, and galaxies
 Describe the techniques and methods for measuring the distances and masses of stars and galaxies
Indicative reading list
Marc Kutner, Astronomy: a Physical perspective, CUP.
View reading list on Talis Aspire
Subject specific skills
Knowledge of mathematics and physics. Skills in modelling, reasoning, thinking.
Transferable skills
Analytical, communication, problemsolving, selfstudy
Study time
Type  Required 

Lectures  30 sessions of 1 hour (30%) 
Private study  70 hours (70%) 
Total  100 hours 
Private study description
Working through lecture notes, solving problems, wider reading, discussing with others taking the module, revising for exam, practising on past exam papers
Costs
No further costs have been identified for this module.
You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.
Assessment group B
Weighting  Study time  

Inperson Examination  100%  
Answer 4 questions

Feedback on assessment
Personal tutor, group feedback
Courses
This module is Core for:

UPXAF300 Undergraduate Physics (BSc)
 Year 1 of F300 Physics
 Year 1 of F300 Physics

UPXAF303 Undergraduate Physics (MPhys)
 Year 1 of F300 Physics
 Year 1 of F303 Physics (MPhys)
 Year 1 of UPXAF3F5 Undergraduate Physics with Astrophysics (BSc)
 Year 1 of UPXAF3FA Undergraduate Physics with Astrophysics (MPhys)
This module is Option list B for:
 Year 1 of UMAAG105 Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year)

UMAAG100 Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc)
 Year 1 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 1 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 1 of G100 Mathematics

UMAAG103 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 1 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 1 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 1 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 1 of UMAAG106 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe
 Year 1 of UMAAG1NC Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies
 Year 1 of UMAAG1N2 Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies (with Intercalated Year)
 Year 1 of UMAAGL11 Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics
 Year 1 of UECAGL12 Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics (with Intercalated Year)
 Year 1 of UMAAG101 Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year