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PHY1107 Astronomy 2

Semester 2, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Brad Carter
Moderator: Carolyn Brown


PHY1107 Astronomy 2 provides an introduction to the Sun, the stars, and the galaxies. It is an appropriate elective for students of physics & astronomy, biology, chemistry, climatology, education and other disciplines. The course provides broad scientific understanding of our origins, our place in the universe, and our future, and highlights the profound astronomical influences on our planet. The course starts with the Sun and its terrestrial influences, and how stars help us trace the Sun's past, present and future. It then reviews what is known about our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and the other galaxies that form the basic building blocks of the visible universe. It also delves into cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole. The course concludes with a look at life on Earth, and the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence. Access to Mt Kent Observatory is provided, so that students can develop skills in observing "deep sky" objects beyond the solar system. PHY1107 is the complementary course to PHY1101 Astronomy 1, an introduction to planetary science.


The astronomy course is about the Sun, the stars and galaxies, and includes cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, and astrobiology, the study of life in the universe. The course begins with the Sun, our local typical star, and moves onto a survey of the stars of the night sky. The course then discusses how stars form, evolve, die and end up as stellar remnants. Our Milky Way galaxy is then introduced, as a prelude to a survey of other galaxies. Following this, the universe on the grandest scale is examined, from its origins in the Big Bang, to its future as an expanding, accelerating cosmos. Finally, we take a look at life on Earth, and how life and intelligence could arise elsewhere. Access to Mt Kent Observatory is provided as part of this course, so that students can observe "deep sky" objects beyond our solar system. This course follows on from PHY1101 Astronomy 1 (which focuses on planetary science), but may be taken independently.


On completion of this course students will be able to :

  1. describe our Sun's structure, energy source and activity;
  2. compare the Sun with other stars;
  3. summarise the process of star formation;
  4. discuss how stellar mass determines how a star evolves;
  5. describe the stellar remnants known as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes;
  6. describe the structure of the Milky Way galaxy and our location within it;
  7. compare our Milky Way galaxy with other galaxies;
  8. discuss how galaxies form, interact and evolve over time;
  9. describe the key cosmological concepts of the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy;
  10. explain how scientists are searching for life beyond the Earth;
  11. plan a deep-sky observing night.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Sun 10.00
2. The Stars 10.00
3. Star Formation 10.00
4. Stellar Evolution 10.00
5. Stellar Remnants 10.00
6. The Milky Way 10.00
7. Galaxies 10.00
8. Galaxy Evolution 10.00
9. Cosmology 10.00
10. Astrobiology 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Bennett, J, Donahue, M, Schneider, N & Voit, M 2008, The cosmic perspective (with mastering astronomy and skygazer planetarium software), 6th edn, Pearson/Addison Wesley, San Francisco.
    (This book is the set text for both PHY1101 Astronomy 1 and PHY1107 Astronomy 2. Students will require e-mail and web access including USQConnect for this course.
  • Carter, B. D, Introductory / Study Book for PHY1107 Astronomy 2, USQ Publications, Toowoomba.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Freedman, RA & Kaufmann, WJ 2005, Universe, 7th edn, WH Freeman & Co, New York.
  • Seeds, MA 2006, Horizons: exploring the universe, 9th edn, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, Ca.
  • Relevant materials listed on the course study desk.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Computer Managed Assessment 24.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 100.00
Report Writing 24.00
Tutorial or Electronic Discussion 24.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Report 20 20 28 Sep 2012
CMA 20 20 19 Oct 2012
2HR RESTRICTED EXAM 60 60 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  3. The Faculty will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile.

  4. Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements.

  5. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  6. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  7. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.