PHY299 Introduction to Astronomy (8)

This subject provides an introduction to astronomy and is suitable as a basis for further studies in this field, or for students majoring in other areas, or students who wish to take the subject for general interest. It gives a basic level of training in the areas of solar system astronomy, stellar astronomy, galactic and extra galactic astronomy and cosmology as well as a grounding in astronomical instrumentation and the physics associated with these areas. Students are required to attend a residential school.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHY299. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Dentistry and Health Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

MTH101 or  MTH102

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise astronomy as a scientific endeavour and identify it as a field requiring the scientific method
  • be able to describe the scale and extent of the universe and categorise its various components
  • be able to describe and explain the concept of the celestial sphere and right ascension and declination
  • be able to describe and discuss theories of the formation and evolution of the solar system, describe and categorise the properties of its various components including the Sun, planets, moons, comets and asteroids, and explain the origin of various astronomical phenomena such as the occurence of eclipses
  • be able to describe and summarise (1) stellar formation, evolution and associated theories, (2) the structure, formation, evolution and various types of, galaxies, and theories associated with them, (3) the large scale structure of the universe and associated theories, (4) the fundamentals of astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life, (5) the fundamentals of cosmology and associated theories
  • be able to compare, analyse and differentiate between, some of the theories formulated in astronomy and cosmology
  • be able to describe and explain the physical principles behind the scientific instruments used in astronomy such as telescopes, spectroscopes and imaging devices, and the physics associated with their use
  • be able to conduct and report on simple astronomically related practical experiments
  • be able to set up a small astronomical telescope and use it to perform simple astronomical observations
  • be able to perform simple calculations relevant to astronomy


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The scale and composition of the universe.
  • The structure, formation and evolution of the solar system
  • Astronomical instruments
  • Celestial co-ordinates and the celestial sphere
  • Stellar formation and evolution
  • Galaxies and galactic evolution and formation
  • Astrobiology and extra-terrestrial life
  • Cosmology and the origin of the universe
  • Practical astronomical observations and experiments

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PHY299 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Assignment 1: online questions
Laboratory reports
Assignment 2: online questions
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school will provide opportunity to complete the practical component of the subject, which is an essential aspect.

Special Resources

Small telescopes and associated equipment will be required in the practical component of the subject. Sufficient equipment is currently available to carry out the required practical component of the subject without additional funding.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.