Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y N
Course Code PHYS2650
Date2024/06/23 21:59
Enquiry for Course Details
PHYS2650 Modern astronomy (6 credits) Academic Year 2023
Offering Department Physics Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator Dr J J L Lim, Physics < jjlim@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Dr J J L Lim,Physics)
Course Objectives This course takes you from the beginnings to the forefronts of contemporary astronomical research - in a journey from the Solar System to the Big Bang - with an emphasis on the most important methodologies and discoveries in astronomy.  Advanced physical concepts are explained with a minimum of mathematics: you will only be required to know and manipulate simple algebra.  An intermediate astronomy course for students in all disciplines and all years, it also is the second course in our series of two compulsory courses to introduce basic astronomy knowledge, methods, and recent advances for astronomy minors.  This primary aim of this course is to take students to the cutting-edge of contemporary astronomy.  After completing this course, interested students may take PHYS3650, PHYS3653 and/or PHYS3660, which are core or discipline elective courses for astronomy minor and astrophysics theme of physics major.
Course Contents & Topics Scale of the Solar and Exo-planetary Systems, Astrometry and Scale of the Galaxy, Scale of the Universe, Expansion and Accelerated Expansion of the Universe, Hubble Parameter, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, Cosmology, Critical Density, Cosmic Structure, Cosmic Microwave Background, Inflation, Neutrino Astrophysics
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 describe the methodologies used to determine the scale of the Solar System, Galaxy, and the Universe
CLO 2 explain how astronomical observations imply that the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate
CLO 3 discuss critically why Dark Matter and Dark Energy is required to explain astronomical observations
CLO 4 describe the importance of precise measurements of the Hubble parameter
CLO 5 perform computations and provide reasoned explanations to demonstrate competence on and understanding of the concepts learnt
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in PHYS1650
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2023 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
Course to PLO Mapping 2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y        2nd sem    Examination May     
Offer in 2024 - 2025 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough mastery at an advanced level of extensive knowledge and skills required for attaining all the course learning outcomes. Show strong analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, with evidence of original thought, and ability to apply knowledge to a wide range of complex, familiar and unfamiliar situations. Apply highly effective organizational and presentational skills.
B Demonstrate substantial command of a broad range of knowledge and skills required for attaining at least most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to familiar and some unfamiliar situations. Apply effective organizational and presentational skills.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete command of knowledge and skills required for attaining most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to most familiar situations. Apply moderately effective organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited command of knowledge and skills required for attaining some of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some coherent and logical thinking, but with limited analytical and critical abilities. Show limited ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Apply limited or barely effective organizational and presentational skills.
Fail Demonstrate little or no evidence of command of knowledge and skills required for attaining the course learning outcomes. Lack of analytical and critical abilities, logical and coherent thinking. Show very little or no ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Organization and presentational skills are minimally effective or ineffective.
Communication-intensive Course N
Course Type Lecture-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Lectures 36
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self study 80
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments 25 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Examination 2-hour written exam 50 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Test 25 CLO 1,2,3
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Lecture notes provided by Course Coordinator
B. W. Carroll & D. A. Ostlie: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 2007, 2nd edition)
E. Chaisson and S. McMillan: Astronomy Today (Pearson, 2011)
Course Website http://moodle.hku.hk
Additional Course Information NIL
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