ASP2062 - Introduction to astrophysics - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Daniel Price


Associate Professor Daniel Price

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


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


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.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (3 hours): 50%

Workshops: 35% (Hurdle)

Tests: 15%

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

Workload requirements

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (roughly 12 hours per week) - approximately an even mixture of attendance at scheduled activities and self-scheduled study time. Learning activities comprise a mixture of instructor directed, peer directed and self-directed learning, which includes face-to-face and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

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