Introduction to Astrophysics

  • Combine this unit with two others to form the module 'Introduction to Physics Specialisms'

Astrophysics is the branch of physics concerned with using the laws of physics to understand the Universe and its constituent parts. In this introductory unit you will focus on basic observation techniques, including types of telescopes and detectors used across the electromagnetic spectrum, and different types of astronomical measurements (astrometry, imaging and spectroscopy).

You will then begin your study of stars, beginning with the basic structure of the Sun, including its atmosphere and how the Sun and stars generate heat. Then you will study the basics of stellar evolution – how stars change as they age – for stars of different masses. The aim of this course is to provide a broad introduction to modern astronomy, and to show how simple physical principles can be used to learn about the Universe.

You will attend lectures, solve problems and discuss topical areas of astrophysics with your peers and staff.

Topics Covered

  • Telescopes and detectors used from radio to gamma rays
  • Imaging, Spectroscopy and Astrometry
  • Coordinate systems
  • Structure of the Sun
  • Stellar classification, evolution and the H-R diagram
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