CK408 Degree

Astrophysics In UCC

This exciting degree programme is available to students entering UCC through the CK 408 Physics and Astrophysics CAO entry, and is designed for for those who have always harboured an interest in astronomy and the physics of the universe. In addition to Astrophysics, this course is designed to equip students with the same fundamental background in Physics, numerical and computational skills as those graduating via the usual Physics degree programme. This programme is not differentiated from the Physics degree until third year, and hence students may enroll in the Astrophysics programme in either their first or second year in UCC (subject to satisfactory academic achievement).
Astronomy topics covered include:

  • Observational astronomy & cosmology
  • Star formation and evolution
  • White dwarfs
  • Neutron stars
  • Black holes
  • Massive black holes and gravitational collapse.

Students in fourth year will be given the chance to undertake research projects within the High-Energy Astrophysics group, the Radio Astronomy group, or the Theoretical Astrophysics group as part of their final year. This provides a strong foundation to a possible postgraduate research career in the field of astronomy. Also refer to the departments description page here for a fuller list of modules.

3rd Year Observing Trip

As part of the 3rd year of the degree the students are given the opportunity to gain hands on experience with a research class telescope in Tenerife. The IAC80 (pictured above) is an 80cm newtonian reflector, which utilises a German equatorial mount, forms part of the Observatorio del Teide built and run by the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC). Located in the Teide National Park, the observatory is at an altitude of over 2,390m set in a volcanic lanscape. Students will live and work at the summit for up to 4 nights while being taught by experienced observers.

IAC80 Students will primarily be taught how to use the IAC80’s 2048×2048 pixels CCD camera with its 10.6 arcsec field of view to obtain photometry of various objects under study by the researchers in the group and their international collaborators. The experience garnered in this trip enables students to pursue research careers in observational astrophysics/astronomy as “hands on” use of a research class telescope is highly desirable. This experince also enables students to possibly go on to working at a telescope as a support scientist/astronomer in some of the most famous institutions worldwide such as 8m Keck telescope in Hawaii, the 8m VLT in Chile or the 10.6m GTC on La Palma in the Canary islands.

Listen to Prof. Callanan talk about some of the research done in 2012 by the Astrophysics students: