Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code PHYS216
Coordinator Dr M Martig
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Whole Session 15


Setting up and calibrating equipment
Become familiar with equipment used in later modules
Taking reliable and reproducible data
Develop understanding of various techniques of data gathering and analysis in modern astrophysics
Calculating experimental results and their associated uncertainties
Using computer software, including specific astrophysical software, to analyse data
Writing a coherent account of the experimental procedure and conclusions
Understanding physics in depth by performing specific experiments
Developing practical, technical and computing skills required for later modules

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Improved practical skills and experience.

(LO2) A detailed understanding of the fundamental physics and/or astrophysics behind the experiments.

(LO3) Increased confidence in setting up and calibrating equipment.

(LO4) Familiarity with IT package for calculating, displaying and presenting results

(LO5) Familiarity with subject specific astrophysics data analysis software.

(LO6) Enhanced ability to plan, execute and report the results of an investigation.

(LO7) Knowledge of the methods employed in the detection and analysis of light at optical wavelengths from astrophysical sources

(LO8) A clear understanding of the methods employed in astronomical photometry and spectroscopy.

(LO9) Experience of the acquisition, reduction and analysis of astronomical data.

(S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Confidence/competence in measuring and using numbers

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation




The laboratory-based section of the module will consist of practical experiments in the general areas of optics and the detection and analysis of optical frequency light, for example:

The characteristics of an astronomical CCD camera.
Pre-processing astronomical imaging and spectroscopic data.
The photometric and spectroscopic analysis of data.
Astrophysical distance determination.
The emission spectra of atomic hydrogen
The phenomenon of diffraction and the use of diffraction gratings.


The lecture component will concentrate on positional astronomy and astronomical photometry, including the following areas:

Signal to noise calculations.
Filter systems.
Relative and absolute photometry.
Atmospheric effects.
Photometric standards.
Coordinate transformations.

The lectures will be complemented by a number of problem classes, which will be used to com plete problems based on the lecture topics. A number of these problems and a final timed exercise will count towards the assessment.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Lectures to provide background about the practicalities of taking optical astronomical observations

Teaching Method 2 - Laboratory Work
Description: Lab based sessions to explore the technicalities of astronomical data collection and analysis

Teaching Method 3 - Other
Description: Problem classes to aid with assed worksheets set in the lectures

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours       84



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 44


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) :Semester 1 and 2  Lab Practical Work    80       
Assessment 2 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) : semester 2  2 hours - observatio    20       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.