Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y N
Course Code PHYS3650
Date2019/07/23 19:16
Enquiry for Course Details
PHYS3650 Observational astronomy (6 credits) Academic Year 2018
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 An introduction to tools of contemporary observation astronomy, with a focus on those used at optical wavelengths, as well as an introduction to observational aspects of stars and galaxies at optical wavelengths. An emphasis is placed on a hands-on approach for students to gain experience in doing astronomical observations and data reduction.
Course Contents & Topics Topics include: properties and configurations of optical telescopes; properties of light, atmospheric effects on observations; properties of astronomical detectors (PMT, CCD); astronomical imaging and magnitude system; astronomical spectroscopy; observations of stars and galaxies including blackbody radiation, color-magnitude system, emission and absorption spectrum, and astronomical redshifts.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 describe and explain the workings of astronomical telescopes and modern astronomical detectors at optical wavelengths
CLO 2 describe the effects of the properties of light and Earth's atmosphere on astronomical observations
CLO 3 explain how the methods of astronomical photometry and spectroscopy are applied to the observations of stars, galaxies, and the universe
CLO 4 operate a small optical telescope to conduct simple day and night sky observations
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in PHYS1650 and (PHYS2250 or PHYS2265)
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2018 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2018 Minor in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2018 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2017 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Minor in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2016 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Minor in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2015 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Minor in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Astronomy ( Core/Compulsory )
2014 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Minor in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
Course to PLO Mapping 2018 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2017 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2017 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2017 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2016 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2016 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2016 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2015 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2015 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2015 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2014 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2014 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2014 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y        1st sem    Examination Dec     
Offer in 2019 - 2020 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. Apply highly effective lab skills and techniques. Critical use of data and results to draw appropriate and insightful conclusions.
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. Apply effective lab skills and techniques. Correct use of data of results to draw appropriate conclusions.
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. Apply moderately effective lab skills and techniques. Mostly correct but some erroneous use of data and results to draw appropriate conclusions.
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. Apply partially effective lab skills and techniques. Limited ability to use data and results to draw appropriate conclusions.
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. Apply minimally effective or ineffective lab skills and techniques. Misuse of data and results and/or unable to draw appropriate conclusions.
Course Type Lecture with laboratory component course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Laboratory 4
Lectures 36
Tutorials 8
Reading / Self study 80
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments 30 CLO 1,2,3
Examination 2-hour written exam 50 CLO 1,2,3
Laboratory reports 10 CLO 4
Test 10 CLO 1,2,3
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Lecture notes provided by Course Coordinator
Frederick R. Chromey: To Measure the Sky
B. W. Carroll & D. A. Ostlie: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (Addison-Wesley Publishing  Company, 2007, 2nd edition)
Course Website NIL
Additional Course Information NIL
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