The module shows how simple physical principles can be used to learn about the Universe. The focus is upon how one can measure physical quantities such as size, distance, temperature, age and mass for the variety of objects in the Universe. By its end students should be able to appreciate topics of current interest in astronomy and cosmology.
Students should be aware that this module requires A-level physics (with a C grade or above) and A-level maths (grade C or above).
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Understand how the elements are formed inside stars
- Know about the expansion of the Universe and how observations can lead to the determination of its age, mass and future evolution
- Understand how the distances, sizes and masses of astrophysical objects can be measured
- Know the essentials of astronomical measurements of brightness and velocities
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Have an appreciation of the relative distances, sizes and masses of the various objects in the Universe
- the properties of the planets and moons
- solar system physics including formation
- comets and asteroids
- detection methods
- The Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram; H-R diagrams of star clusters; classification of stars from their position in the H-R diagram
- The dependence of stellar properties and timescales on mass
- The determination of the ages of clusters
- Physical conditions within stars
- Nuclear fusion
- Stellar evolution
- Core-collapse supernovae
- White dwarfs, neutron stars and black-holes
- Classification of galaxies by their appearance
- Galaxy interactions
- The Milky Way
- Active galaxies
- Radio jets
- The expansion of the Universe
- The Cosmic Microwave Background
- The Big Bang model
- Measurement of the age and mass and the future evolution of the Universe
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching will be primarily by delivered lectures, and learning is enhanced by problem sheets.
|Completion of assessment task||56|
|Wider reading or practice||36|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||15|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Chaisson & McMillan. Astronomy Today - Global Edition. Pearson.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External