24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 6

Course outline: This course presents an introduction to the theoretical aspects of modern astrophysics. The key objective is to illustrate the application of physical laws in an astronomical context and to explain how we know what we do about the universe and its constituents. Subject matter broached includes: Celestial mechanics; radiation laws; blackbody radiation, Planck function and approximations; magnitudes; the hydrogen atom; stellar spectroscopy; stellar evolution and remnants; special relativity; the Earth-Moon system; the Solar system; extrasolar planets; stellar motions; the Milky Way and other galaxies; the extragalactic distance scale; large scale structure; Newtonian cosmology.

Course co-ordinator [2023]: Dr Lucia Marchetti, Room 535 in the RW James Building.

Course lecturer [2023]: Dr Lucia Marchetti.

Course tutors: TBD

Entrance requirements: PHY1004W and MAM1000W (pre-requisites).

Lectures: In 2023, this course will start in the second term of Semester 1 (on 3 April 2023). During this term lectures will be daily, Monday to Friday, in second period, from 09:00 - 09:50. Room: TBD

Course textbook: To be advised.

Tutorials: Ten compulsory tutorial/practical sessions over the year, Wednesday, 14h00 - 17h00.

Practicals: One virtual observatory project, by arrangement; one essay and one presentation. One field trip to the South African Astronomical Observatory, Sutherland.

DP requirement: Satisfactory attendance at lectures and tutorials/practicals. Class record of at least 35%.

Assessment: Two class tests count 25%; 10 compulsory tutorials/practicals including a virtual observatory project, an essay and a presentation count 25%. One 2-hour final examination in November counts for 50%; subminimum requirement of 40% for final examination.

[Last updated: 27 December 2023]