Module Identifier PH18010  
Module Title ASTRONOMY  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Nicholas Mitchell  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Andrew Breen  
Pre-Requisite None- Module is also suitable for non Physics students  
Co-Requisite None  
Mutually Exclusive None  
Course delivery Lecture   20 lectures  
Assessment Course work   2 Multiple Choice Tests (50% each)   100%  

Brief description

The sky at night has fascinated humankind since the beginning of history. Contemporary astronomy provides us with a comprehensive picture of the physical universe, yet one in which many questions remain unanswered. This module reviews in a non-mathematical manner our present understanding of the universe and highlights important gaps in our knowledge. Topics covered include : the birth, life and death of stars (white dwarfs, black holes etc.); planets, comets and asteroids; the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe; galaxies and quasars; cosmology and the big bang. The course is suitable for undergraduates of any discipline.

Learning outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

Outline syllabus

The sky at night : motions of the heavens. The Universe in history : ancient and Greek astronomy, the birth of modern astronomy (Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, Galileo, Newton). Light and Telescopes.

Formation of the Solar System. The Jovian planets: atmospheres and interiors. The Terrestrial planets, formation, differentiation. Subsequent evolution of surfaces and atmospheres. Minor bodies of the Solar System : comets, asteroids, Pluto-Charon, meteors.

Stellar properties. The Sun. Star birth and interstellar matter. Stellar evolution. The deaths of stars : black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs.

The Universe of Galaxies. The Big-Bang and Cosmology.

Life in the Universe

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
M. Zeilek. Astronomy, The Evolving Universe. 8th. Wiley 0471135666
J. Kaler. Astronomy. Harper Collins 0065000048
Kaufmann & Friedmann. Universe. 0023621303