Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Advanced Topics in Solar System Physics
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
PHM3910 Advanced Topics in Materials Physics
Successful completion of Year 3 of the PSP MPhys scheme
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture This will vary from workshop to workshop, but typical figures are 6 x 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 3 x 1-hour tutorials
Other Guided reading 15 hours
Workload Breakdown Lectures 6 hours; Seminars 3 hours; Practicals 9 hours; Guided Reading 15 hours; Independent literature research 15 hours; Preparation of assignments 52 hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3 x 1500-word reports or equivalent (33% each)  100%
Supplementary Exam As determined by the Departmental Examining Board  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. undertake self study and research of different topics,

2. Identify research problems in solar physics and the appropriate research methodologies to address and solve them,

3. Demonstrate a knowledge of current research issues in Solar-System Physics,

4. Identify and operate research software used in Solar-System Physics.


Among the typical career fields of our MPhys candidates are research and development in both academia and industry. Providing them with knowledge of research level Solar-System Physics is important to prepare them for a successful start in their research careers. The module acts also as a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the field of Solar-System Physics, with a postgraduate recruitment perspective in mind.

Brief description

The modules draws on the breadth of experience in Solar-System physics available within the institute by exposing the students to a selection of workshops. Out of a range of topics, four workshops will be taught in any given year. The workshop contents are intended to reflect the dynamic of the Institutes' evolving research interests. Where possible, external speakers will be brought in to supplement the department's expertise - although this is not required for the successful running of the module.


Workshop topics include, but are not limited to:-
- Magnetic structures in the Sun's atmosphere
- Solar spectroscopy
- Interplanetary Scintillation studies of the solar wind
- Investigating the Venusian atmosphere
- Tomography studies of the Earth's Ionosphere
- Exploring the surface of Mars
- Using the IDL software package
- 3D modeling and visualisation
Each workshop will have a different assessment which will be devised by the academic leading the workshop.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Calculations resulting from the analysis of space- and ground-based solar system data.
Communication Essay writing, web site design, oral and poster presentations are variants of assignments used in this module.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent literature research and reading is an important component of the module. Students are expected to read on from initial material given to them and show in their assignments that they have done so. Computer coding will help students develop their own program writing skills through experience.
Information Technology Computer programming, web site design, use of astrophysical and literature data bases.
Personal Development and Career planning A wide range of applications of solar system physics will be covered in the workshops. These will be drawn from the cutting-edge research interests of staff in the institute. Hence the topics covered will be of immediate importance for those students who pursue careers in research, particularly in Aberystwyth.
Problem solving Lectures 6 Seminars 4 Practicals 10 Guided Reading 16 independent literature research 16 preparation of assignments 48
Research skills Literature research is a key component.
Subject Specific Skills Dependent on the particular workshop contents.
Team work It is open to individual lecturers to allow students to form small working groups where this is appropriate.


This module is at CQFW Level 7