ASTRO 100G : Planets, Stars and Galaxies


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The story of our place in the Universe. Key topics are the exploration of the solar system, searches for planets around other stars, the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, high-energy astrophysics, and the origin and overall properties of the Universe. No background in physics or mathematics is assumed.

Course Overview

This course tells the story of our place in the Universe. Key topics are the exploration of the solar system, searches for planets around other stars, the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, how dark matter and dark energy have affected the history of the Universe and will determine its future. No background in physics or mathematics is assumed. The assignments and labs students are linked to lectures so students get to do astronomy and understand how we work out distances to objects in the Universe and how we work out what everything is made of. This course is ideal for those who have always been interested in space, stars, galaxies and the Universe and just want to know more. 

Course Requirements

Restriction: PHYSICS 107, 107G

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Name and define the contents of the Universe and their relative sizes and scales. (Capability 1)
  2. Summarise how stars, planets, galaxies and the Universe form and evolve over their lifetime. (Capability 1)
  3. Name and summarise the techniques astronomers use to study the Universe and its contents. (Capability 1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 20% Individual Coursework
Laboratories 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Final Exam


For more information and to find contact details for the Physics Department Tuākana coordinator, please see:

Key Topics

History of astronomy & astrophysics, atoms & light, special and general relativity, telescopes, the planets of our Solar System, planets around other stars, the structure and evolution of the Sun and stars, source of the elements, structure and evolution of galaxies, dark matter, dark energy, the Big Bang, evolution of the Universe. 

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, per week, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour laboratory, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings. 
Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam. 
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

The course textbook is Astronomy Notes by Nick Stobel. The book is available online at and available in e-book formats. Hard copies are available in the UBS. The course’s website will have links to relevant sections within the book for further reading. It is strongly recommend that students read as much of the text as possible in addition to attending lectures.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode.
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 21/12/2020 12:03 p.m.