ASP2062 - Introduction to astrophysics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy


Dr Duncan Galloway

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


An introduction to contemporary astrophysics, with a focus on the range of physical processes which shape the universe and the objects within. Students will study the generation, propagation and absorption of radiation; processes of star and planet formation; celestial mechanics; accretion disks; the sun; interiors of stars and nucleosynthesis; post main sequence evolution; degeneration remnants; the Milky Way; the structure of galaxies; active galaxies; particles and cosmic rays. Laboratory work will include analytic and computer-based exercises, involving research-grade data and numerical codes.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Apply basic physical and mathematical principles, including dimensional analysis, to gain a quantitative and qualitative understanding of astrophysical processes.
  2. Explain how observational data may be exploited to infer the physical properties of cosmic objects.
  3. Solve astrophysical problems, and complete a range of problem solving tasks by drawing on physical principles.
  4. Use practical skills to computationally model astrophysical systems.
  5. Demonstrate a knowledge of stars, planets, and galaxies sufficient to undertake further astrophysics studies at Level 3.


Examination (3 hours): 50%

Workshops: 35%

Tests: 15%

Hurdle requirement: Students must achieve a pass mark in the workshop component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Workload requirements

  • Three 1-hour lectures/tutorials per week
  • One 3-hour workshop per week
  • Six hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


One unit (six points) of physics at first-year level, and MTH1030 or MTH1035 or ENG1005 or equivalent


MTH2010 or MTH2015 or ENG2005 recommended - required for Astrophysics at level three