USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at https://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PHY8001 Observational Astronomy

Semester 1, 2021 Online
Short Description: Observational Astronomy
Units : 2
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010303 - Astronomy
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 14 April 2021

Staffing

Examiner: Stephen Marsden

Other requisites

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

Students who have enrolled in or completed PHY2204 cannot enrol in this course.

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

Rationale

This course forms a core coursework component for the Master of Science (Astronomy). The course provides an in-depth introduction to observational astronomy, and uses assignments to develop more general knowledge and skills relating to physical measurements.

Synopsis

This course introduces the science, techniques and technology of observational astronomy. Topics include astronomical observing, astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy, telescopes, optics, detectors and data analysis. Additional topics develop technical skills through the use of assignments.

Objectives

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

  1. Introduce key concepts relating to observational astronomy
  2. Apply quantitative methods to evaluate astronomical instruments and observations
  3. Present the results of qualitative and quantitative analysis in observational astronomy
  4. Discuss the practicalities of observational astronomy, telescopes and instrumentation
  5. Communicate technical information regarding astronomical instruments

Topics

Description Weighting(%)
1. Key concepts in observational astronomy 10.00
2. Quantitative methods in analysing astronomical observations 10.00
3. Presenting scientific results from astronomical observations 10.00
4. Comparing physical theory with astronomical observations 10.00
5. Communicating technical information regarding observations and instruments 10.00
6. Astronomical Observing 10.00
7. Observational Techniques 10.00
8. Telescopes 10.00
9. Optics 10.00
10. Astronomical Surveys 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). (https://omnia.usq.edu.au/textbooks/?year=2021&sem=01&subject1=PHY8001)

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (https://omnia.usq.edu.au/info/contact/)

Carroll, B W. & Ostlie, D A 2017, An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, UK.
(ISBN 978-1-108-422161.)
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.
Barbara Ryden and Bradley M Peterson 2009, Foundations of Astrophysics, 1st edn, Pearson/Addison Wesley, USA.
(ISBN: 978-0-321-59558-4 (www.pearsonhighered.com).)
Bennett, Donahue, Schneider and Voit 2016, The Cosmic Perspective, 9th edn, Pearson Education/Addison Wesley-Benjamin Cummings, USA.
(http://www.pearsonhighered.com.)
Berry, R and Burnell, J 2005, The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing, 2nd edn, Willman-Bell.
(ISBN: 0943396824. Includes AIP4WIN 2.0 Software.)
Freedman, Kaufmann 2019, Universe, 11th edn, W. H Freeman & Co, USA.
(http://bcs.whfreeman.com/.)
Roy, A. E. and Clarke, D 2003, Astronomy: Principles and Practice, 4th edn, Institute of Physics Publishing.
(ISBN: 0750309172.)
Smith, Robert c 1995, Observational Astrophysics, Cambridge University Press.

Student workload expectations

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 23 Apr 2021
ASSIGNMENT 2 25 25 21 May 2021
OPEN EXAMINATION - ONLINE 50 50 End S1 (see note 1)

Notes
  1. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

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 http://policy.usq.edu.au/documents.php?id=14749PL (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure http://policy.usq.edu.au/documents/14749PL (point 4.4.2).

  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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    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:
    Normally Deferred and Supplementary Examinations are held in the next Examination period. In S1 2021 selected courses will pilot an early Deferred and Supplementary Examination period held within 30 business days of results release. The list of courses involved can be found at https://cmsauth.usq.edu.au/current-students/academic/exams/supplementary-and-deferred-assessment.

  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 http://policy.usq.edu.au.

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. http://www.usq.edu.au/library/referencing

Other requirements

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

Date printed 14 April 2021