ASTY221 Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics

Updated: 25 October 2018
Credit Points 6
Responsible Campus Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 1 Online
Intensive School(s)

Intensive schools are for students enrolled in Online Mode only, unless specified in the notes.

Start Finish Attendance Notes
23 April 2019 26 April 2019 Non-Mandatory Intensive school begins at 6.30 pm on the evening of the first date.
Supervised Exam There is a supervised exam at the end of the teaching period in which you are enrolled. The paper-based exam will be held at an established exam venue, and coordinated by UNE Exams Unit.
Pre-requisites any 24cp or candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions None

Physics majors might consider PHYS208 (Astrophysics topic) which is a more mathematically-oriented alternative to this unit.

Combined Units None
Coordinator(s) Stephen Bosi (
Unit Description

This unit describes our present understanding of the universe and how this knowledge has been obtained. Topics covered in the unit include: (1) a historical perspective of the changing view of the solar system and wider universe; (2) astronomical instruments and the physics behind astronomical observations; (3) the physical processes underlying the formation, lifespan. evolution and death of stars; (4) the expanding universe and the big bang; and (5) an account and physical explanation of exotic objects in the universe such as neutron starts, quasars, pulsars and black holes.

Important Information

Where calculators are permitted in examinations, it must be selected from an approved list, which can be accessed from the Further Information link below.

Further information

Prescribed Material


Note: Students are expected to purchase prescribed material. Please note that textbook requirements may vary from one teaching period to the next.

Discovering the Universe

ISBN: 9781464140860
Comins, N.F. and Kaufmann III, W.J., Freeman 10th ed. 2014

Note: The 9th edition is also acceptable.

Text refers to: Trimester 1, Online

Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Compulsory Assessment 1 20% 2000
Assessment Notes

10 online quizzes @ 2% each.

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 3, 4

Compulsory Assessment 2 30% 2000
Assessment Notes

Laboratory work at intensive school or essay. It is mandatory to pass this component in order to pass this unit.

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 3

Compulsory Final Examination 2 hrs 15 mins 50%
Assessment Notes

It is mandatory to pass this component in order to pass this unit.

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 3, 4

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. identify basic concepts from the many areas of astronomy, including motions in the sky, gravity, electromagnetic radiation, solar system, stars and galaxies;
  2. recognise and apply the scientific method to solve astronomical problems and to critically evaluate hypotheses and theories proposed;
  3. analyse and interpret information in order to communicate solutions to unpredictable and sometimes complex problems in the field of astronomy; and
  4. demonstrate competence in the use of basic astronomical instruments.