Astronomy and Astronomical Optics


This module explores astronomy in terms of its historical origins, practical observation skills and current physical models of the origin, nature and future of our Universe.  Topics covered include: The Big Bang, stellar evolution, supernova explosions, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, quasars and the search for extra-terrestrial life.

The module will also cover the fundamental instrumentation and optical techniques used in multiple areas of astronomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss the history of astronomy including historical beliefs and major contributions to the field of astronomy.

  2. Locate and identify celestial bodies and patterns in the night sky, and select the optimum method for sky observation.

  3. Describe the major patterns and movements of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars with reference to the celestial sphere and the Earth's rotation, revolution and precession.

  4. Understand the different instrumentation used in the different areas of astronomy, e.g. reflecting & refracting telescopes, radio telescopes, space telescopes, high energy telescopes.

  5. Discuss the origin of the solar system and describe the major physical characteristics of solar system objects.

  6. Discuss the physical characteristics, evolution and fate of the Sun, stars, galaxies and the Universe.

  7. Evaluate the evidence for extra-terrestrial life and the nature of possible life forms.

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