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PHY3033 : Advanced Astrophysics

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Fletcher
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module will use a wide range of topics from basic physics to develop a quantitative understanding of various astronomical objects, such as planets, stars and galaxies. The emphasis will be on physical concepts, the physical meaning of the underlying equations and the power of making order-of-magnitude estimates.

Outline Of Syllabus

Basic principles of astronomical observation. Dimensional analysis. Dynamics and orbits. Random processes and thermodynamics. Star formation and the interstellar medium: cloud collapse, Hll regions, shocks, supernovae, cosmic rays.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion54:3022:30Preparation of assignments
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:3010:30Revision for unseen exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Unseen exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Problems classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Formal lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery241:0024:00Office hours/self-study: Studying, practising and gaining understanding of the course material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study51:005:00Assignment review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Office hours provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer and for student specific feedback on assignments, if required.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A90N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M10Written assignments
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module, as this is the best way to test understanding of the Physics content . Written assignments (approximately 5 pieces of work of approximately equal weight) 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.

Reading Lists