2023-2024 / ASTR0204-2

Astrophysics and geophysics


30h Th, 30h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in physics5 crédits 
 Master in mathematics (120 ECTS)8 crédits 
 Master in mathematics (60 ECTS)8 crédits 


Marc-Antoine Dupret, Valérie Van Grootel


Marc-Antoine Dupret

Language(s) of instruction

French 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

Astrophysics: After an introduction giving a general overview of the universe from the smallest to the largest scales, a 1st chapter discusses the fundamental role played by gravitation in astrophysics, in particular for mass determinations. The 2nd chapter briefly presents the methods for determining distances in astrophysics. The 3rd large chapter presents in detail the wealth of information provided by electromagnetic radiation to understand the universe. The main observation techniques are also presented (light at different wavelengths, ground-based and space telescopes, ...). Finally, techniques for detecting exoplanets are presented. The 4th large chapter presents the 2 main bricks of the universe, namely the stars and the interstellar medium. The main physical processes involved in the description of stars and their evolution are thoroughly presented. The characteristics of the interstellar medium and the cycle of matter are also presented. In the 5th chapter, our galaxy is presented, as well as the problem of dark matter. In the 6th chapter, the study of the extra-galactic universe is presented, paying particular attention to the expansion of the Universe.

Geophysics: In the 7th chapter, the internal structure of the Earth and the means of probing it by the analysis of seismic waves are presented. The internal structure of other planets is also discussed. In the last large chapter, the physical properties of the different layers of the Earth's atmosphere are discussed and its energy balance is established. The topical issues of the greenhouse effect and the global warming it induces are presented in detail as well as, more briefly, the paleoclimates and the issues of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The aim of the course is to immerse students in the physics of the different fundamental components of our universe: earth, planets, stars, interstellar medium, dark matter, galaxy(s), large-scale universe. The main goal is to show them how this knowledge in perpetual evolution, how precise measurements of the physical quantities within these components can be acquired by the scientific methodology. Particular focus is given to understanding the underlying fundamental physical processes and linking them to the students' overall learning of physics. If the objects studied are, for the most part, very distant from us. The analized physical processes also offer a sharp look at phenomena at the core of current concerns such as global warming.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic knowledges in physics, thermodynamics and mechanics are essential. Basic mathematical knowledges, particularly in trigonometry are also required.

The following courses are co-required:

- Physique moderne, L. Dreesen (bac2 physics)

- Thermodynamique, N. Vandewalle (bac2 physics)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

During the semester, students work in groups on a freely chosen subject from a proposed list encompassing the main research areas of ULiège in astrophysics and geophysics. This work is supervised by an expert of the subject. Revision exercise sessions are organized at the end of the semester in preparation for the exam.

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

The course is given the first semester (5h / week).

Recommended or required readings

PowerPoint presentations, podcasts and other materials are available at the following link:


Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam AND oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

An oral (theory) and written (exercises) exam is organised during the january session.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Marc-Antoine Dupret
email: MA.Dupret@uliege.be
address: Institut d'Astrophysique et Géophysique, bât. B5c, +1
Tél: 04 366 97 32

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Chapitre I Astronomie Format pdf

Chapitre I Astronomie Format powerpoint

Astronomie : Exercices
Exercices corrigés d'astronomie

Chapitre IV Structure et évolution des étoiles, format pdf

Chapitre IV Structure et évolution des étoiles, format ppt

Modalités de l'examen

Chapitre V Notre Galaxie, format ppt

Chapitre 5, Notre Galaxie, format pdf

Géophysique Externe
Chapitre VIII, Géophysique Externe

Géophysique interne, 1
Chapitre VII, Géophysique Interne, part. 1

Géophysique Interne, 2
Chapitre VII, Géophysique Interne, part. 2

Le problème à 2 corps
Compléments sur le problème à 2 corps

Les distances
Chapitre II La mesure des distances, format pdf

Les distances
Chapitre II La mesure des distances, format powerpoint

Chapitre III La lumière en astrophysique, format ppt

Chapitre III La lumière en astrophysique, format pdf

Complete notes, as well as powerpoint presentations

Chapitre VI, Notre Univers, format pdf

Chapitre VI, Notre Univers, format ppt