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Unit of study_

PHYS4122: Astrophysics and Space Science

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHYS4122
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
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

Coordinator Bruce Yabsley, bruce.yabsley@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Iver Cairns, iver.cairns@sydney.edu.au
Jesse Van de Sande, jesse.vandesande@sydney.edu.au
Jonathan Bland-Hawthorn, jonathan.bland-hawthorn@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam Final exam
Final exam
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Quiz
3.33% Week 03 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Assignment 1
Written assignment
10% Week 05 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Online task Quiz 2
Quiz
3.33% Week 07 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
In-semester test (Take-home short release) Type D in-semester exam In-semester test
Test of first section of course.
20% Week 08
Due date: 13 Apr 2022 at 14:00
1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Assignment 2
Written assignment
10% Week 09 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Online task Quiz 3
Quiz
3.34% Week 11 -
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Tutorial quiz Computer lab quiz
Numerical lab exercise
10% Week 13 -
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?
Type D in-semester exam = Type D in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

  • 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. 
  • In-semester test: This test will cover material from the first of the three sections of the unit. The test will have a mixture of short-answer questions and worked problems.
  • Final exam: This exam will cover material from the final two sections of the unit. The exam will have a mixture of short-answer questions and worked problems. If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator.

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.

For more information see guide to grades.

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.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity 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 integrity breaches seriously.  

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

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Physics of plasma in our Solar System Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Physics of plasma in our Solar System Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Physics of plasma in our Solar System Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Big Bang, Inflation, and Cosmology Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Cosmological Perturbations and Dark Matter Halos Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Formation of First Stars and First Galaxies Lecture and tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Formation of First Stars and First Galaxies Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 Gaseous Processes in Astrophysics Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Galaxies Demographics Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Galaxy Dynamics Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Star formation and Stellar Populations Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Observing Galaxies Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Galaxy Evolution Lecture and tutorial (2 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 section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The order of the lectures in the unit has been changed, and some content previously assessed in the final exam is now assessed in an in-semester test.

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.