ASTR422-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Theoretical and Observational Cosmology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Theoretical and Observational Cosmology

This course is an account of modern cosmology. It will include a discussion on the large scale homogenous and isotropic nature of the Universe and how the Universe is expanding with time. This will be followed by a brief review of the aspects of General Relativity that we will need in the course.

After that, we will discuss the constituents of the Universe and how the expansion of the Universe has changed over time.  The apparent accelerating expansion of the Universe and the proposed dark energy explanation for it will also be discussed. The evidence for dark matter and what properties it appears to have will be reviewed.

We will use the Boltzmann equation to understand big bang nuclear synthesis and the cosmic microwave background. These are two of the main observational pillars of the big bang model of the Universe.  The Boltzmann equation will be used to study a thermal relic model of dark matter.

We will then go on to study the inhomogeneity of large scale structure such as galaxies, galaxy clusters and the cosmic web. The anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background will be analysed. We will see how observations of both of these phenomena can allow us to tightly constrain many properties of the Universe.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department. Prior astronomy courses would be useful but are not essential as we will cover any needed subjects during the course.


Timetable 2023

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 15:00 - 16:00 Beatrice Tinsley 112
20 Feb - 2 Apr
24 Apr - 4 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 15:00 - 16:00 Jack Erskine 445
20 Feb - 2 Apr
24 Apr - 4 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 12:00 - 13:00 Jane Soons 602
20 Feb - 2 Apr
24 Apr - 4 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Chris Gordon


Final exam:  60%
Test: 20%
Problem sets: 20%

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

General Course Information (PDF 163KB)

Please note in particular....
Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the named author(s).
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.
Do not engage in dishonest practices. The Department reserves the right to refer dishonest practices to the University Proctor and where appropriate to not mark the work.

Late submission of work

Late Work
Students should check with the course Co-ordinator whether or not late work is accepted and what penalties may apply. Requests for submitting work late should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late. This must be done well in advance of the due date for the work.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,114.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Physical & Chemical Sciences on the departments and faculties page .

All ASTR422 Occurrences

  • ASTR422-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023