This module will introduce some of the fundamental principles which underpin modern astronomy and astrophysics. The module will begin by introducing some of the most exciting challenges facing modern astronomers today. The module will examine how astronomy developed from philosophy into a modern science, with particular reference to the scientific method. This discussion will lead to the introduction of the key concepts of optics on which optical telescopes rely. The module will conclude by discussing the nature of light and its uses (e.g. spectroscopy and Wien’s law).
Module learning outcomes
By the conclusion of the module the student should be able to:
Discuss the development of astronomy from philosophy to a modern science
Recognise and describe the use of the scientific method in Astronomy
Demonstrate understanding of the physics behind an optical telescope and carry out simple calculation related to these concepts
Understand and use the celestial sphere and celestial mechanics
Use Wien’s law and Stefan-Boltzmann law to calculate stellar properties
Explain the production methods of spectral absorption and emission lines and their use in modern astronomy
Understand the Doppler Effect and its uses within modern astronomy
Understand and apply the concept of reference frames and the theory of special relativity to solve problems involving relative motion.
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.
The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.
Hoskin, M.: The History of Astronomy: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2003
Freedman, R. A. & Kaufmann, W. J.: Universe, W. H. Freeman & Co., 2014
Hester, J., Smith, B., Blumenthal, G., Kay, L., & Voss, H.: 21st Century Astronomy, W. W. Norton & Co., 2013