PHYSICS 2530 - Astrophysics II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

Protostars and star formation; stellar interiors and stellar evolution; supernovae and pulsars; introduction to the heliosphere; introduction to the local space environment. Practical Work: astrophysics related experiments and observations.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 2530
    Course Astrophysics II
    Coordinating Unit Physics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PHYSICS 1100 or PHYSICS 1101, PHYSICS 1200 or PHYSICS 1201, MATHS 1012 - Other students may apply to Head of Physics for exemption
    Incompatible PHYSICS 2536
    Course Description Protostars and star formation; stellar interiors and stellar evolution; supernovae and pulsars; introduction to the heliosphere; introduction to the local space environment.
    Practical Work: astrophysics related experiments and observations.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Gavin Rowell

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. identify the requirements and limitations of instrumentation for modern astrophysical observations;
    2. apply physics principles to the interpretation of a broad range of astrophysical observations;
    3. explain the basic issues involved in present day astrophysical investigations;
    4. demonstrate an understanding of our present picture of the cosmos on a large scale.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    K Zeilik, M. A. and Gregory (1999) S.A. Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics 4th Edition (Thomson)

    Carroll, B.W. and Ostlie, D.A. (2007) Introduction to Modern Astrophysics 2nd Edition (Benjamin Cummings)

    Online Learning

    MyUni:    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    -         Lectures      24 x 50-minute sessions with two sessions per week

    -         Tutorials      10 x 50-minute sessions with one session per week

    -         Practicals    11 x 3-hour sessions with one session per week (+some night time work)


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary

    The course content will include the following:

    Coursework Content

    -         Heliospheric processes, solar magnetic fields and the solar wind.

    -         Thermal emission

    -         Spectral line formation and interpretation

    -         Galactic Properties: magnetic fields and the interstellar medium

    -         Stellar energy generation

    -         Helioseismology/Astroseismology

    -         Stellar evolution to white dwarfs and neutron stars

    -         Photon detection and telescopes

    Practical Content

    Topics will be discussed at the practical sessions and a general list will be given in the course overview.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment taskType of assessmentPercentage of total assessment for grading purposesHurdle (Yes/No)Outcomes being assessed
    Assignments Summative 6% - 10% No 1 – 4
    Tutorial preparation Summative 12% - 20% No 1 – 4
    Practical work Formative & Summative 30% No 1 – 4
    Final exam Summative 40% - 52% Yes (40%) 1 – 4
    Assessment Related Requirements

    To obtain a grade of Pass or better in this course, a student must attend the examination and achieve at least 40% in the final exam, attend at least 5 practicals sessions during the semester, and contribute to the practical reports.

    Assessment Detail

    This assessment activity comprises one discussion paper answering several questions and one essay. The essay should be of approximately 1,000 words in length. Marks will be given for science content. References and the source of web information must be included. The essay will be due in early October (6-10% of the final grade). Poor performance in essay may be partly redeemed in the final exam.

    Tutorial preparation
    To maximise the benefit of tutorials, students are required to submit their answers before or at the tutorial. Assessment is based on effort rather than correctness; this task has a formative and summative role. Tutorials intend to complement the lecture material through showing the present view of the subject matter (including relevant observational techniques) and indicating the limits of our present knowledge. Tutorials are an integral part of the learning process and will be marked 12 20% of the final grade. Poor performance in tutorial preparation may be partly redeemed in the final exam.

    Practical work will be 30% of the final grade.

    Final exam
    This summative assessment activity comprehensively addresses the learning objectives for Astrophysics (40-52% of the final grade).



    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a replacement examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from:

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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