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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Discovering Astronomy (PHYS08039)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDiscovering Astronomy is an introductory astronomy course that should be accessible to any student. We assume a basic level of numeracy, but no mathematics more complicated than simple algebra and simple trigonometry is used. The course covers a wide range of topics, from understanding our Sun and Solar System through to Cosmology and the Big Bang. The course has a set textbook that we follow quite closely and is supported by online material accessed from the course homepage.
Course description Syllabus:
- History of Astronomy
- Gravity and planetary motions
- Our Sun
- The Solar System
- Telescopes & observational astronomy
- Extrasolar planets
- The evolution of stars
- White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes
- Our Milky Way galaxy
- The formation and evolution of galaxies
- Cosmology and the Big Bang
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements It is recommended that students have Higher or GCSE maths, or equivalent.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIt is recommended that students have Higher or GCSE maths, or equivalent.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  300
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 148 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4 x Tutorial hand-ins (best 3 of 4 count 1/6 of final mark)
5 x Practical Workshop hand-ins (best 4 of 5 count 1/6 of final mark)
1 x Final exam (2/3 of final mark)
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. describe the contents of our Solar System, and why different objects within it have the properties that they have
  2. explain at a basic level how energy is produced within, and escapes from, our Sun and other stars
  3. describe the evolution of stars, from their birth through to their death as white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes, and explain the ways in which other stars and planetary systems differ from our own
  4. describe the properties and history of our Milky Way galaxy, and contrast this with other major types of galaxy, including active galaxies
  5. explain at a basic level the concepts of current cosmology, and the evidence for and nature of the Big Bang
Reading List
The course content is built around the recommended textbook The Cosmic Perspective by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider, Voit (Pearson/Addison Wesley 7th edition 2014).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Students are expected to attend 10 one hour tutorial/practical sessions - one every week from weeks 2-11, as arranged.
Course organiserDr Beth Biller
Tel: 0131 668 8349
Course secretaryMiss Stephanie Blakey
Tel: (0131 6)68 8261
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