Observational Astronomy and Exoplanets - PHYS5070

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Dirk Froebrich checkmark-circle


This module builds on the brief introduction to astronomy previously taught in earlier stages. Students enhance their knowledge of astrophysics through the study of the theory, formalism and fundamental principles developing a rigorous grounding in observational, computational and theoretical aspects of astrophysics. In particular they study topics such as properties of galaxies and stars and the detection of planets outside the solar system.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Problem set 1 (10 hours) 15%
Problem set 2 (10 hours) 15%
Examination (2 hours) 70%

Indicative reading

• Carroll, B. and Ostlie, D.; 2013; An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics;
• Berry, M.; 1989; Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation; Adam Hilger
• Roos, M.; 2015; Introduction to Cosmology; Wiley
• Peacock, J.; 1999; Cosmological Physics; Cambridge University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

1. Apply fundamental principles of physics to particular areas, such as atomics physics and spectroscopy.
2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical quantities, their units, and typical values, for observational astronomy and exoplanets.
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 observational astronomy and exoplanets.
4. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the application of physical principles to astrophysics (generally including but need not be limited to): the structure, formation and evolution of stars and galaxies, planetary systems, and cosmology.
5. Formulate and solve problems about observational astronomy and exoplanets.
6. Quantitatively describe and predict astronomy problems in the area of observational astronomy and exoplanets using mathematics.
7. Demonstrate an awareness of, and ability to apply, cross-cutting principles in different areas of physics
8. Comment critically on how telescopes operating at various wavelengths are used in astronomy and astrophysics research.


  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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