Astronomy and Black Holes - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP2
  • Availability for 2018: SP1 , SP2
  • Assessment: Assignment - Written Assignment (40%) , Test - 6 online tests (10% each) (60%)

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 1,131.00
HECS 1,131.00
International 1,381.00

This unit is a science elective for students. It provides an introduction to some of the key concepts in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. An understanding of stars, galaxies, black holes and the universe in general is developed. In addition, students are invited to research their own area of interest in astronomy to a depth dictated by their own ability.

The primary capabilities developed by this unit are:

  1. Knowledge capability: describe and predict the basic properties of the universe, its age and size and fate; understanding the fundamental assumptions of modern cosmology; understanding the processes leading to the formation and death of stars and the formation of black holes from gravitational collapse of massive stars; understanding the meaning of singularity, event horizon and Schwarzschild radius and how they relate to Black Holes
  2. Analysis capability: differentiate between thermonuclear reactions/gravitational collapse and the Pauli exclusion principle as the cause of neutron stars; be able to classify different stars based on simple spectral data and predict the future form this star will take using an H-R diagram; explain the Big Bang hypothesis and contrast this to competing theories of the formation of our Universe; relate the observational evidence for Black Holes to the theory of their size and effect on surrounding matter
  3. Comprehension capability: grasp the tension between thermonuclear reactions and gravitational collapse which drives stars throughout their life and which produces cataclysmic results in the death of some; differentiate between the quantities which characterize our Universe and explain what each measures
  4. Application capability: solve problems using knowledge of laws of physics in an astronomical context; calculate the age and size of the observable universe; calculate basic properties of stars and black holes.
  • Assignment — Written Assignment (40%)
  • Test — 6 online tests (10% each) (60%)

A knowledge of secondary school mathematics is assumed

This unit addresses the following topics.

1An introduction to Cosmology.
2Birth, Life and Death of Stars;
3Black Holes - Theory and Observations

Each unit offered through OUA provides students with unit information that includes assessment topics and due dates, policy information and contact numbers for university support and academic staff. Study materials will also clearly outline each week's topic, readings, student activities and the format of all assessment.

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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