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PHY3033 : Advanced Astronomy

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr David Rosario
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module covers the methods and technologies used for astronomical observations, including the use of telescopes. Basic physics and statistics are utilised to understand how observations are designed to answer astrophysical questions.

Outline Of Syllabus

Telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum; Optics and telescope design; the measurement of light and signal; imaging and spectroscopy; detectors and electronics; the Sky; measurements of time and speed in astronomy; the practical use of small telescopes

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion351:0035:00Completion of in course assignments/ examination revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Formal Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00Night sky observations with small teaching telescopes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study381:0038:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework 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. Workshops are used for practical experience with small telescopes and collection of data for assignments.

The teaching methods are appropriate to allow students to develop a wide range of skills, from understanding basic concepts and facts to higher-order thinking.

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
Report1M40Problem-solving exercises assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework exercises 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.

The format of the examination will enable students to reliably demonstrate their own knowledge, understanding and application of learning outcomes. The assurance of academic integrity forms a necessary part of programme accreditation.

Examination problems may require a synthesis of concepts and strategies from different sections, while they may have more than one ways for solution. The examination time allows the students to test different strategies, work out examples and gather evidence for deciding on an effective strategy, while carefully articulating their ideas and explicitly citing the theory they are using.

A report based on data collected at the workshops will be part of the single coursework assessment. The data that they will collect will vary between student groups, so a coursework report is a better assessment for this learning process than a uniformly-assessed final exam. The extra work necessary for such a report is reflected in the relative split of marks between coursework and final exam.

Reading Lists