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Introduction to Astro Physics

Module PH2058

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2018/9 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

available module versions
WS 2018/9WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2058 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2058 is Frank Eisenhauer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  • Radiation and matter
  • telescopes and satellite experiments
  • stars: Global properties, spectra, structure
  • stellar evolution and final stages of stars
  • interstellar medium
  • cosmic distance 
  • Galaxies: Overview
  • black holes, active galaxies
  • spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, dwarf galaxies
  • clusters of galaxies and dark matter
  • cosmology, Large scale structure formation 

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the student is able to

  • survey the current state of astrophysics and its methods
  • understand the origin, the evolution and the final stages of stars and to describe their inner structure
  • understand the different species of galaxies and to sketch their characteristics and evolution
  • describe black holes
  • sketch the basics of cosmology
  • participate in more in-depth lectures and seminars in the field of astrophysics
  • study advanced original and current scientific literature


No prerequisites that are not already included in the prerequisites for the Master’s programmes.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The lecture gives an overview of modern astrophysics. The focus is on observations, their scientific interpretation, and the fundamental physics concepts behind, but with little theoretical detail, which can be found e.g. in the module PH2080. The topics of the lecture will be presented in thematically structured lectures. Some international experts are invited. To deepen the understanding, the students have to work through individual chapters of textbooks and original literature, which will then be discussed together in the lecture. As a result, the proportion of self-study in this module is high.


PowerPoint. The slides are made available for download in PDF and PowerPoint format.


A. Unsöld, B. Baschek: "The new cosmos", Springer, ISBN 3-540-67877-8

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of about 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Derive the stellar mass-luminosity relation from the basic equations of stellar sturcture.
  • What are black holes and how to observe them?
  • How can one measure the distance to nearby galaxies, e.g. the Andromeda galaxie?
  • What does the cosmic microwavebackground tell about the universe's global properties?

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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