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PHY8004 Stellar Astronomy

Semester 2, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 2
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Stephen Marsden
Moderator: Brad Carter

Other requisites

Students must be enrolled in the course via USQ Professional Development or via the MSCN.

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


This course forms a core coursework component for the Master of Science (Astronomy). The course provides an in-depth introduction to stellar astronomy, and develops more general knowledge and skills in the physical sciences through the use of assignments.


This course introduces stellar astronomy. Topics covered in this course include Binary Systems and Stellar Parameters, The Classification of Stellar Spectra, Stellar Atmospheres. The Interiors of Stars, The Sun, The Process of Star Formation, Post-Main-Sequence Stellar Evolution, Stellar Pulsation, Supernovae, The Degenerate Remnants of Stars, Black Holes, and Close Binary Star Systems. Additional topics develop scientific skills through the use of assignments.


On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Introduce key concepts in stellar astronomy
  2. Apply modern methods to evaluate relevant quantitative problems in stellar astronomy
  3. Present the results of qualitative and quantitative analysis in stellar astronomy
  4. Discuss links between stellar observations and physical theory
  5. Communicate scientific work relevant to research in stellar astronomy


Description Weighting(%)
1. Key concepts in stellar astronomy 10.00
2. Quantitative methods in stellar astronomy 10.00
3. Presenting scientific results in stellar astronomy 10.00
4. Comparing theory and observations in stellar astronomy 10.00
5. Communicating the science of astrophysics 10.00
6. Binary Systems and Stellar Parameters; The Classification of Stellar Spectra 10.00
7. Stellar Atmospheres; The Interiors of Stars 10.00
8. The Sun; The Process of Star Formation 10.00
9. Post-Main Sequence Stellar Evolution; Stellar Pulsation 10.00
10. Supernovae; The Degenerate Remnants of Stars; Black Holes 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. (

  • Carroll, B W. & Ostlie, D A 2014, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics Pearson New International Edition, 2nd edn, Pearson Education Limited, Essex, UK.
    (ISBN 13: 978-1-292-02293-2).(
  • Students also will require e-mail, web and USQConnect access.

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.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 100.00
Directed Study 70.00
Examinations 2.00
Online Lectures 24.00
Online Tutorials 24.00
Private Study 120.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 25 25 21 Jul 2015 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 25 25 21 Jul 2015 (see note 2)
2 HR RESTRICTED EXAM 50 50 End S2 (see note 3)

  1. Assignment due dates will be available during the semester.
  2. Assignment due dates will be available during the semester.
  3. Examination dates will be available during the semester.

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. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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.

  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.

  8. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //

Other requirements

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