Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Interior of the Sun
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Conventional written examinations  70%
Semester Assessment Weekly Coursework  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Conventional written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Classify the different regions of the solar interior and describe their physical characteristics.
2. Examine the evidence for fusion in the solar core.
3. Explain the methods of energy transfer through the Sun and relate these to the physical properties of the solar material.
4. Describe how helioseismology can be used to obtain information on the internal structure of the Sun.
5. Summarise how different observational methods can be used to obtain information on photospheric structures.

Brief description

The module examines the physics of the Sun, our nearest star. Energy production in the Sun is considered and its transport from the solar interior to the Sun's surface or photosphere. The causes of solar activity are discussed and its effect on the Sun both on long and short timescales.


The module aims to introduce physical processes operating in the solar interior and explain their effects on the Sun's photosphere and chromosphere.


  • Structure of the Sun;
  • Nuclear processes in the core. Solar neutrinos;
  • Radiative and convective zones, energy transport;
  • Solar seismology;
  • Photosphere and Chromosphere. Sunspot, faculae, plages, prominences,
  • filaments;
  • Flows in the convection region and the origins of solar activity;
  • Measurement techniques.
  • Delivery is throughout semester by lectures supported by feedback seminars.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Questions set in assignments and formal examination will include numerical problems.
Communication Written communication is developed via the lecture assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Assignments are designed to encourage self-directed learning and improve performance, with feedback.
Information Technology Students are required to research topics within the module via the internet.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will highlight the latest developments in this field and hence will assist with career development.
Problem solving Problem solving is a key skill in physics and will be tested via continuous assessment during the semester and in formal examination at the end of the module.
Research skills Directed reading in the specialist subject that builds on research expertise in the department will allow students to explore the background to the topics. Students will be directed to investigate the body of knowledge on the subject, which will entail research in library and over the internet.
Subject Specific Skills The discussion of helioseismology will equip the students with the background for the most developed observational techniques in the field.


This module is at CQFW Level 6