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Observational Astrophysics

Module PH2114

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 2016/7

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

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018WS 2016/7SS 2011

Basic Information

PH2114 is a semester module in German language at Master’s level which is offered in summer 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 40 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2114 in the version of WS 2016/7 was Roland Diehl.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This course provides a survey of observational methods towards the universe and its objects. Telescopes, experiments, and their methods are discussed per messenger type, and application towards their characteristic astrophysical studies is discussed. In particular, we address:

  • astrophysics quests and cosmic messengers
  • cosmic matter and its observables
  • radiation processes
  • instruments, telescopes, experiments: from radio to gamma rays, neutrinos, cosmic rays, meteorites, gravitational waves
  • stars: formation, evolution, explosions and compact remnants
  • compact objects: accretion, magnetars, bursts, mergers
  • interstellar medium: cold gas and dust, hot and relativistic plasma, cosmic rays
  • galaxies of different types, with their characteristic objects and sources
  • literature and databases on the astronomical window/discipline and projects

Learning Outcome

After passing of the module, students are able to

  • associate physical processes in cosmic objects to their specific observational method(s)
  • understand the design and the critical components of telescopes, from radio through IR and optical to x- and gamma radiation, as well as the instruments for cosmic dust, cosmic rays, gravitational waves, and neutrinos
  • describe the evolution of normal and exotic stars, from formation through different phases until their remnants
  • explain the physics of different, sometimes violent, energy release processes in cosmic objects
  • assess the observability gaps in view of standard theories describing the universe


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Presentation (slides), board teaching, short contributions from students


no info


Longair: High-Energy Astrophysics, Cambr. Univ. Press

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In a written exam of 60 minutes the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as an oral exam. In this case the time duration is 25 minutes.

Exam Repetition

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

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