The Multiwavelength Universe and Exoplanets - PH507

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 5 15 (7.5) DR D Froebrich checkmark-circle


Aims: To provide a basic but rigorous grounding in observational, computational and theoretical aspects of astrophysics to build on the descriptive course in Part I, and to consider evidence for the existence of exoplanets in other Solar Systems.


Observing the Universe
Telescopes and detectors, and their use to make observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. Basic Definitions: Magnitudes, solid angle, intensity, flux density, absolute magnitude, parsec, distance modulus, bolometric magnitude, spectroscopic parallax, Hertzsprung-Russel diagram, Stellar Photometry: Factors affecting signal from a star. Detectors: Examples, Responsive Quantum Efficiency, CCD cameras. Filters, UBV system, Colour Index as temperature diagnostic.

Extra Solar Planets
The evidence for extrasolar planets will be presented and reviewed. The implications for the development and evolution of Solar Systems will be discussed.

Basic stellar properties, stellar spectra. Formation and Evolution of stars. Stellar structure: description of stellar structure and evolution models, including star and planet formation. Stellar motions: Space velocity, proper motion, radial velocity, Local Standard of Rest, parallax. Degenerate matter: concept of degenerate pressure, properties of white dwarfs, Chandrasekhar limit, neutron stars, pulsars, Synchrotron radiation, Schwarzschild radius, black holes, stellar remnants in binary systems.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

33 hours of lectures.
This module is expected to occupy 150 total study hours.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Coursework (class tests) 30%;
Final (written, unseen, length 2 hours) exam 70%.

Indicative reading

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (Jul 2013), by Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie,
ISBN-10: 1292022930, ISBN-13: 978-1292022932

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of physical laws and principles of astronomy, astrophysics and space science, and their application to diverse areas of physics.

  • Knowledge and understanding of aspects of the theory and practice of astronomy, astrophysics and space science, and of those aspects upon which astronomy, astrophysics and space science depends.
  • An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems in astronomy, astrophysics and space science, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
  • An ability to solve problems in astronomy, astrophysics and space science using appropriate mathematical tools.
  • An ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour within astronomy, astrophysics and space science.
  • An ability to comment critically on how spacecraft are designed, their principles of operation, and their use to access and explore space, and on how telescopes (operating at various wavelengths) are designed, their principles of operation, and their use in astronomy and astrophysics research.
  • An ability to present and interpret astronomical, astrophysical and space science information graphically.
  • An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.


    1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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