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PH30111: Galaxies and introduction to cosmology

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2017/8
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must ( take PH20013 OR take PH20060 ) AND ( take PH20014 OR take PH20061 ) AND ( take PH20016 OR take PH20076 OR take PH20106 ) AND ( take PH20029 OR take PH20067 )
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
This unit aims to explore our place in the universe, beginning by reviewing the observational evidence that distant nebulae are in fact 'island universes' or galaxies separated by vast tracts of empty space. It presents students with a picture of our own galaxy formed by combining observational data with elegant yet simple mathematical models, and explores the distribution, morphology, formation and evolution of galaxies in general. The unit also aims to develop students' understanding of the 'concordance model' of cosmology.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* explain the main developments in our understanding of our place in the universe;
* describe the geometrical arguments and observations that indicate differential rotation in the Milky Way Galaxy (MWG);
* describe the taxonomy of galactic morphology and give plausibility arguments to explain the spread of morphological types;
* discuss evidence for the existence of Dark Matter based on observations of galaxy rotation curves;
* explain mathematically how we can estimate the masses of individual galaxies and clusters of galaxies;
* describe the 'Simple Model' of the chemical evolution of the interstellar media of galaxies;
* explain Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) in terms of the presence of supermassive black holes at their centres;
* describe how galaxies map out the large scale structure of the universe;
* derive a mathematical model of the universe based on Newtonian physics;
* explain mathematically the key concepts of relativistic cosmological models;
* show how Dark Matter may be used to explain the beginnings of structure formation in the universe;
* discuss modern observational results and the concordance model of cosmology.

Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Galactic astrophysics (11 hours): Historical Overview - discovery of galaxies. Distance measurements in the MWG. Structure of the MWG. Galactic rotation. Stellar dynamics. The interstellar medium of the MWG. External galaxies. Classification by morphological type. The masses of galaxies. Chemical evolution and star formation histories of galaxies. Active galactic nuclei (AGN). Galaxies and the large scale structure of the Universe.
Cosmology (11 hours): Newtonian cosmology; Hubble's Law; the cosmic scale factor. Relativistic cosmology - spatial curvature, open, flat & closed models, Friedmann models, cosmological parameters and how they are constrained. Interpreting the cosmic microwave background radiation. Dark matter - galaxy rotation and early large scale structure formation. Dark energy and the accelerating universe. The concordance model of cosmology.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH30111 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM11 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Research placement (Year 3)
  • USPH-AKM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Professional Placement (Year 4)

PH30111 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 3)
  • USXX-AAB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USXX-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 3)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Physics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys(Hons) Physics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Research placement (Year 3)
  • USPH-AKM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional Placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AKM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 4)