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PHY1101 Astronomy 1

Semester 1, 2022 Toowoomba On-campus
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mathematics, Physics & Computing
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules
Version produced : 7 December 2022


Examiner: Jonti Horner


This course is an introduction to astronomy – the study of the cosmos. Astronomy is the oldest science – and has played an important role in the cultures of our ancestors across the planet. It has provided the tools by which ancient peoples navigated the globe, and the calendar by which they lived and directed their lives. This course provides a historical background to the study of astronomy, and introduces the different techniques and tools used by astronomers to study the universe – showing how we have come to understand our place in the cosmos.

The course is particularly relevant to students wishing to learn or teach astronomy, physics or Earth sciences. The course is open to all and offers an accessible introduction to how science explains our place in the universe. The course will provide an important basis for students to understand the scientific method – particularly as applied to the observational sciences of astronomy and astrophysics.

This course forms an introduction to astronomy and astrophysics - the study of the universe around us. Astronomy is presented as a tool to understand our origins and place in the universe, and the way that our knowledge and understanding of astronomy has developed over the millennia is discussed in the course's early stages. The basic concepts that allow us to study the universe are then introduced, giving students the framework to understand how we study the cosmos, and laying the groundwork for their wider study of astronomy and astrophysics. The course teaches students how things move in the sky, and through space, explains the seasons, and how phenomena such as eclipses work.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Describe and quantify the way in which different celestial bodies move – both across the sky and through space;
  2. Explain how astronomers measure the distance to celestial objects, and calculate those distances using astronomical data;
  3. Discuss the history of astronomy and the importance of astronomy to different cultures;
  4. Explain how astronomers navigate the night sky;
  5. Perform mathematical calculations to determine how astronomers should best observe certain phenomena;
  6. Explain the origins of various astronomical phenomena.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The History of Astronomy 10.00
2. Indigenous Astronomy 10.00
3. Observing the Universe – Telescopes 10.00
4. The Celestial Sphere 10.00
5. The Astronomy of the Earth 10.00
6. How do things move in the sky? 10.00
7. How do things move in space? 10.00
8. How bright? How far? 10.00
9. The Scale of the Universe 10.00
10. The Future of Astronomy 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%)
Assignments Written Online forums No 5
Assignments Written Quiz No 35
Examinations Non-invigilated Time limited online examinatn No 60
Date printed 7 December 2022