phy1ast astron




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This introduction to contemporary astronomy and our developing understanding of the universe is appropriate for students from any background. Topics covered include our own solar system and the individual planets, through the galaxy to the distant features of the universe, star life, exotic objects such as quasars and black holes, cosmology and the big bang and astronomical instruments. Extensive use is made of multimedia presentations. In the astronomy project, students work as a team and develop oral presentation and relevant research skills. In daytime and evening viewing sessions, students develop basic experimental and problem-solving skills. In computer-based laboratories students simulate the role of practising astronomers and also have the opportunity to explore resources on the internet.

SchoolSchool of Molecular Sciences/LIMS

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorAndrew McDonald

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsAstronomy todayPrescribedChaisson, E and McMillan S 20087TH ED, PEARSON INTERNATIONAL ED., ADDISON-WESLEY, HARLOW.
ReadingsThe southern sky guideRecommendedEllyard, D and Tirion, W 20012ND ED, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE: NEW YORK

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Conduct and document observations of the night sky with the unaided eye or employing a small telescope.

Observing nights, Home observing exercises

02. Use computer equipment to conduct simulations of an astronomical observation session.

Practical work in the physics laboratory

03. Analyse astronomical data collected in observations or in a computer-simulated environment or presented in diagrammatic form.

Written reports of Observing nights and practical laboratory work

04. Recognise and describe, qualitatively and quantitatively, the behaviour and physical properties of celestial objects and phenomena.

Written reports of Observing nights and practical laboratory work,

05. Communicate verbally and using visual aids within the peer group using correct terms and concepts to describe astronomical phenomena

Astronomy project

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAndrew McDonald

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 31 - 43
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Laboratory ClassWeek: 31 - 43
One 2.0 hours laboratory class per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Collaborative Based LearningWeek: 31 - 43
Two 1.0 days collaborative based learning other recurrence on any day including weekend at night from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Two night-time observing sessions."


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
One x 2-hour written examination (2,000-words equivalent)5003, 04
Six written laboratory reports (1,200-words equivalent)2401, 02, 03, 04, 05
One poster presentation (500-words equivalent)1005
Two written reports summarizing observing activities (600-words equiv. tot ) + two observing nights.1603, 04