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During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

PHYS4122: Astrophysics and Space Science

Modern astrophysics covers a vast range of scales, from processes within the Solar System which allow for direct testing, to processes that take place in distant places and times, such as the formation of galaxies. Nonetheless, the same physics underpins all of these situations: the plasma of the solar system meets the interstellar medium, which provides the building blocks for galaxies. This unit provides an advanced-level treatment of three major topics in astrophysics: the formation and evolution of galaxies, the structure and morphology of galaxies, and the physics of plasma in our Solar System. You will learn about the behaviour of gas and plasma throughout the Universe, and their effect on phenomena from galaxy structure to space weather. By doing this unit, you will learn how to synthesise your knowledge of physical concepts and processes, and how these concepts and techniques are used to solve modern research problems.

Details

Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Unit code PHYS4122
Unit name Astrophysics and Space Science
Session, year
? 
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Prohibitions
? 
None
Prerequisites
? 
An average of at least 65 in 144 cp of units
Corequisites
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

A major in physics

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Bruce Yabsley, bruce.yabsley@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Stefano Palomba , stefano.palomba@sydney.edu.au
Alessandro Tuniz, alessandro.tuniz@sydney.edu.au
Benjamin Eggleton, benjamin.eggleton@sydney.edu.au
Zdenka Kuncic, zdenka.kuncic@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Final exam
60% Formal exam period 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Quiz
3.33% Week 04 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Assignment 1
Written assignment
10% Week 07 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Tutorial quiz Computer lab quiz
Numerical lab exercise
10% Week 09 -
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Online task Quiz 2
Quiz
3.33% Week 09 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Quiz 3
Quiz
3.34% Week 11 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Assignment 2
Written assignment
10% Week 12 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?
  • Quiz 1: This quiz will test your understanding of material covered in lectures.
  • Quiz 2: This quiz will test your understanding of material covered in lectures. 
  • Quiz 3: This quiz will test your understanding of material covered in lectures.
  • Assignment 1: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures and your reading to solve worked problems.
  • Assignment 2: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures and your reading to solve worked problems.
  • Computer lab quiz: This quiz will require you to apply information from lectures to solve quantitative problems in a lab setting. 
  • Final exam: This exam will cover all material in the unit. The exam will have a mixture of short-answer questions and worked problems. 

Assessment criteria

Result name Mark range Description
High Distinction 85-100 At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply subject knowledge to novel situations.
Distinction 75-84 At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a solid knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.
Credit 65-74 At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad understanding of the unit material but has not fully developed the ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.
Pass 50-64 At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge of the subject.
Fail 0-49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Galaxies Demographics (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Galaxy Dynamics (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Star formation and Stellar Populations (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Observing Galaxies (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Galaxy Evolution (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Big Bang, Inflation, and Cosmology (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Cosmological Perturbations and Dark Matter Halos (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Formation of First Stars and First Galaxies (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Gaseous Processes in Astrophysics (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Physics of plasma in our Solar System (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Physics of plasma in our Solar System (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Physics of plasma in our Solar System (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Demonstrate understanding of the physics underlying astrophysical situations, and use these concepts to describe the system under consideration.
  • LO2. Synthesise knowledge from the undergraduate syllabus and apply physics knowledge and mathematical skills to solve astrophysical problems.
  • LO3. Evaluate different theoretical models applying to a system and assess the applicability of these models.
  • LO4. Analyse astrophysical observations and numerical simulations to construct a physical model for an astrophysical system.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9
This unit has been updated for pandemic conditions. The unit was first offered in 2020.

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.