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PHSI170 Introduction to Astronomy

Introduction to modern astronomy with a minimum of mathematics, exploring the Sun-Earth system and our place in the universe. Topics include the history of astronomy, stellar evolution, planets, and cosmology.

Special topics included are: "the size and age of the universe", "the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence" and "what would be the effect of a large meteor impact on the Earth?" This paper is intended for students who have an interest in a broad education. We aim to facilitate a continuing interest in astronomy and space exploration.

Paper title Introduction to Astronomy
Paper code PHSI170
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Summer School (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Schedule C
This paper is not a prerequisite for Physics 200-Level major subject requirements.
Teaching staff

Professor Craig Rodger

Dr Jonathan Squire


Recommended textbook; Seeds and Backman (Foundations of Astronomy, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 14th edition, 2019)

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation. View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students completing this paper will:

  1. Be aware of the essential aspects of our understanding of the wider universe
  2. Know the importance of historical aspects and the progressive development of ideas
  3. Grasp the range of scale sizes and numerical values needed to describe astronomical scales of time, space and mass

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Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 13:00-13:50 2-5, 7
Tuesday 13:00-13:50 2-7
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 2-7
Thursday 13:00-13:50 2-7


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 15:00-17:50 2-7


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 2-7