Introduction to Astronomy and Light - PHYS3040

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) George Dobre checkmark-circle


This module provides an introduction to astronomy, beginning with our own solar system and extending to objects at the limits of the universe. Straightforward mathematics is used to develop a geometrical optics model for imaging with lenses and mirrors, and this is then used to explore the principles of astronomical telescopes.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30
Total Private Study Hours: 120
Total Study Hours: 150


Not available as an elective module choice.

Method of assessment

• Problem Set 1 (4 hours) – 10%
• Problem Set 2 (4 hours) – 10%
• Examination (2 hours) – 80%

Indicative reading

Carrol, B., and Ostlie, D. (2017). An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. (Second Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Morison, I. (2008). Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology. New York: Wiley
Tipler, P. and Mosca, G. (2008). Physics for Scientists and Engineers (Sixth Edition). London: Palgrave Macmillan

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the laws of physics in the areas of optics and introductory astronomy.
2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical quantities, their units, and typical values, for optics and introductory astronomy.
3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical phenomena, the terminology used to describe them, and typical circumstances in which they are found to occur, for optics and introductory astronomy.
4 Formulate and solve problems in optics and introductory astronomy.
5 Quantitatively describe and predict optics and introductory astronomy phenomena using mathematics.
6 Comment critically on how telescopes are designed, their principles of operation or their use in astronomy.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.