The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


Astronomy is vital and exciting because it extends the frontiers of knowledge. As a science, astronomy has two important roles. It provides us with a clearer picture of our place in the universe, and it stimulates the development of new technology, much of which ultimately finds practical application. This course covers both aspects. Topics covered include astronomical coordinates and measurement, instrumental techniques, the solar system, the structure and life cycle of the sun and other stars, clusters, quasars, pulsars, and cosmology.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. To enable students to acquire knowledge of the principles, processes and techniques that form the basis of modern astronomy

2. To teach students how to apply their scientific knowledge to astronomical phenomena

3. To assist students to develop their analytic and problem solving skills

4. To enhance student's laboratory and computing skills

5. To develop student's written and communication skills


  • astronomical distances, units, and coordinate systems
  • the Earth in space: seasons, tides, precession, eclipses
  • instrumental techniques
  • structure of planets within the solar system
  • structure of the sun
  • the solar wind, solar constant and solar cycle; space weather
  • stars and nebulae; the life cycle of stars and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
  • star clusters, galaxies and quasars
  • introduction to cosmology

Assumed knowledge

There is no assumed knowledge for this course although a basic understanding of physics and mathematics at the HSC level would be beneficial.

Assessment items

Quiz: Weekly Quizzes

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratories

Written Assignment: Written Assessments

Formal Examination: Examination Formal

In Term Test: Mid-semester exam

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term