2021-2022 / SPAT0033-1



35h Th, 15h Pr

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Aerospace Engineering5 crédits 
 Master in space sciences (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Specialised master in cosmos exploration5 crédits 


Pierre Magain

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Introductory course in astrophysics, covering the main themes, with emphasis on the evolution of ideas from antiquity to the most recent discoveries, but also on the main unsolved enigmas on the origin of the Universe, galaxies, stars and planetary systems, dark matter and dark energy, life in the Universe...
Table of contents: 1. History of astronomy 2. Our solar system: planets, satellites, comets, meteorites... 3. Astronomical observations: telescopes, detectors, photometry, imaging, spectroscopy... 4. Stars: colours, spectra, energy sources, formation, evolution, end of life, supernovae... 5. Exoplanets, life in the Universe, SETI, UFOs... 6. Galaxies: spirals, ellipticals, irregulars, active, quasars, black holes... 7. Cosmology: cosmological models, dark matter, dark energy, Big Bang, alternate models...

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The aims of the lecture are: (1) to provide a basic knowledge in modern astrophysics; (2) to give an overview of the marvels and mysteries of the Universe; (3) to introduce the different topics which will be developed in more specialized lectures; (4) to show how scientific theories are constructed and evolve; (5) to develop a critical mind, to be able to judge the validity of a theory, to distinguish genuine science from pseudo-science; (6) to help the student develop its own opinion, by analyzing with a critical mind alternate theories.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic knowledge of physics, at the level of bachelor in science.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The student will present a talk of about 15 min, on a subject he can choose, provided it is linked to the contents of the course and the teacher approves it.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Theoretical lectures + student talks, first semester.

Recommended or required readings

Reference book (in french, not mandatory): Astronomie et Astrophysique M. Séguin and B. Villeneuve De Boeck Université 2d edition (2002)

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination. Two questions on different chapters.
The ~15 minutes oral presentation accounts for 1/3 of the note, the examination for 2/3.
> Online oral examination (update 10/12/2020)

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks


Pierre Magain
Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Bât. B5c, allée du 6 Août, 4000 Liège 1 (Sart Tilman).
Tél.: 04/366.97.53
E-mail : Pierre.Magain@ulg.ac.be