Module Identifier PH18010  
Module Title ASTRONOMY  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Andrew R Breen  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Professor Shadia R Habbal  
Pre-Requisite None- Module is also suitable for non Physics students  
Co-Requisite None  
Mutually Exclusive None  
Course delivery Lecture   20 lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Course Work: 3 Multiple Choice Tests (33.3% each)  100%

Learning outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

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.


The sky at night : motions of the heavens, stars and planets. Astronomy through history : ancient and Greek astronomy, the birth of modern astronomy - how astronomy has changed our concept of the universe we live in. Observing the universe.

Stars and planets: the formation of the Solar System. The Terrestrial planets, formation, differentiation and the evolution of surfaces and atmospheres. Jovian planets: atmospheres and interiors. Minor bodies of the Solar System : comets, asteroids, Pluto-Charon, meteors. Extra-solar planets and life in the universe.

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

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
M. Zeilek Astronomy, The Evolveing Universe 6th. Wiley
J. Kaler Astronomy Harper Collins
Kaufmann & Friedmann Universe


This module is at CQFW Level 4