HET616 Great Debates in Astronomy

Course/s with Unit:
A unit of study in the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) and Master of Science (Astronomy).

Credit Points:
12.5 Credit Points

Duration:
One semester

Contact Hours:
Equivalent to 60 hours

Campus:
Off-campus

Prerequisites:
HET624 Galaxies and Their Place in the Universe (or the old HET604 Exploring Galaxies and the Cosmos) and HET607 History of Astronomy, or equivalent units.

Corequisites:
Nil.

Learning and Teaching Structure:
Online delivery mode, contact via newsgroups & email.

Assessment:
Assessable newsgroup contributions (30%), online debate (50%) and online tests (20%).

Aims:
This Unit will investigate in depth great debates in astronomy which have shaped (or are still shaping) our current understanding of the Universe and its evolution.

Objectives:
After successfully completing this Unit, students should be able to:

  • appreciate that our current understanding of the universe has been shaped by academic debate;
  • understand how astronomical debate was and still is conducted;
  • research an astronomy topic in depth, using dependable sources of astronomical information on the internet and refereed journal articles.

Content:
The course content will be made up of detailed investigations of six of the 'big questions' in astronomy, including the following:

  • Our place in space: the nature of our Earth, the Solar System, the cosmos
  • Is Pluto a planet?
  • Stellar controversies: the energy source of stars, the HR diagram and the white dwarf mass limit
  • The scale of the Universe: nearby nebulae, or a universe of galaxies?
  • What is the origin of Gamma Ray Bursts?
  • The Large Scale Structure of the Universe: dark matter and the cosmological constant

Prescribed Textbook & Reading Materials:
For information about the textbook, follow this link.

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