Global Opportunities

PHY1021 : Introductory Astrophysics

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To understand how we measure properties of astrophysical bodies and to understand the application of basic physical laws to those bodies.

Module Summary: Since the beginning of human enquiry we have wondered what our place in the Universe is and if we're alone. In order to answer these questions the branch of Astrophysics involves observing astronomical bodies and applying physical laws in order to understand them. This requires cutting edge observations across the electromagnetic spectrum as well as application of physics ranging from particle physics to general relativity. This module will introduce a basic understanding of how we observe astrophysical bodies and how we apply physical laws to those bodies in order to ultimately understand the Universe.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Physical Principles
-       Measuring positions and distances
-       Light (blackbody radiation, spectra)
-       Telescopes
-       Kepler's laws and orbits
2. Stars
-       Stellar structure and evolution
-       End states of stellar evolution
3. Galaxies
-       Galactic classification and morphology
-       Scaling laws
-       Dark matter
4. Cosmology
-       Hubble’s law
-       The cosmological distance ladder

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Problem classes – Present in Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Revision Lecture – Present in Person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials201:0020:00Structured and guided content (weekly)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion25:0010:00Summative problem solving exercises
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study148:0048:00Practice problems and revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time101:0010:00Problem classes – Synchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time11:001:00Revision Lecture – Synchronous Online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module uses a “flipped classroom” mode of delivery: structured and guided content (consisting of short videos and readings) are used for the initial delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples. These materials are to be engaged with asynchronously with clear milestones to be achieved each week. In-person and synchronous online classes following the same timeline are used to identify and correct stumbling blocks in asynchronous material, explore challenging topics in more depth, answer questions, and develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. This flipped classroom model allows contact time to be used most efficiently, focussing on practicing and exploring more challenging material in the interactive environment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M20Problem-solving exercises
Prob solv exercises1M20Problem-solving exercises
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

In the event of on-campus examinations not being possible, an on-line alternative assessment will be used for written examination 1.

Reading Lists