Major topics

Light and the Electromagnetic Spectrum:

  • wavelength and frequency and energy
  • major divisions (Gamma, X-ray, UV etc)
  • how temperature relates to wavelength
  • the Black Body Spectrum
  • Kirchhoff's Laws
  • Wien's and Stefan's Law
  • Telescopes in different parts of the spectrum

Atomic Structure and Light

  • atoms, ions and molecules
  • temperature and atomic motion
  • energy levels and transitions
  • Doppler effect
  • Stellar Spectroscopy and Spectral Classes

The Sun

  • major features of the sun (core, photosphere, chromosphere etc...)
  • fusion and how it works
  • solar activity and sunspots

The Stars

  • stellar parallax and distance
  • absolute magnitude and distance modulus
  • distance modulus and distance
  • how brightness depends on size and temperature
  • the HR diagram and how to use it
  • fusion in stars - PP and CNO cycles


Be sure to read carefully the online lecture notes and pay attention to the example problems worked out in the lectures. Also - read your text book Chps: 5,6,15,16,17,18,19,20, 21.1, 21.2 and 22

You will not be given a formula sheet but are encouraged to make your own for use during the exam.

Exam Format and Procedure:

The exam will consist of two sections of equal weight:

  • a 30 part multiple choice section of NO MORE THAN ! HOUR duration - multiple choice submissions after this time will NOT be accepted
  • 3 long answer questions

You may use any course notes, text and lecture in the exam but communication with other students is not allowed.