PHYC40030 Galaxies, Observational Cosmology & the Interstellar Medium

Academic Year 2023/2024

The module addresses how galaxies form, are classified and how they cluster in space. The Milky Way Galaxy will be discussed in detail. A distinction will be drawn between Normal and Active galaxies. The powering of Active galaxies by supermassive black holes will be discussed in the context of the luminosities of galaxies. Galactic rotation curves will be discussed from the perspective of the estimation of galaxy masses. Such measurements suggest the underlying presence of dark matter which is not directly detectable.A description of modern cosmology will be given, based on experimental data from contemporary observations. Evidence for the accelerated expansion of the universe will be presented which points to the presence of a dark energy component of the cosmos that contributes a weak repulsive force throughout spacetime, underpinning the accelerated expansion.Additionally the interstellar medium will be introduced in particular with respect to describing the structure, dynamics and evolution of galaxies.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to describe:(1) The Milky Way Galaxy.(2) Galaxy evolution and the classification of galaxies.(3) The interstellar medium(4) Cosmological Models.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, and graded assignments. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

PHYC10050 : Astronomy & Space Science
PHYC20040 : Exploring the Solar System
PHYC30100 : Stellar Astrophysics & Astronomical Techniques
Some knowledge of python is recommended.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: 2 hour exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Varies through semester Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Graded assignment mark + feedback given.

Name Role
Mr Conor O Toole Tutor
Mr Conor O'Toole Tutor
Professor Emma Sokell Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 11:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 13:00 - 13:50