Courses & Units

Stellar and Planetary Physics KYA305

This unit is available in even numbered years only.


Stellar and Planetary Physics is an advanced unit in the Physics Major focusing on the production of energy in stars and the structure and energy balance of planets, including the Earth-Sun system and the physics of climate. Different sections of the unit concentrate on topics including: the structure of the solar interior and atmosphere; nuclear reaction networks in the Sun and other stars; stellar formation and evolution; radiation transfer through stellar and planetary atmospheres, including the processes of transmission, absorption, scattering and emission; space weather; aurorae and the Earth's magnetic field; remote sensing of the atmosphere and surface of the Earth; seismological probes of planetary and stellar interiors; terrestrial energy balance and climate change; numerical modelling techniques to describe stars, planets, and their atmospheres. This unit builds upon topics covered in first- and second-year physics units and is recommended for students intending to major in physics. The topics covered are also suitable for students wishing to gain an understanding of the physics of astronomy, climatology, meteorology, Antarctic studies, physical geography, and related areas. The unit is taught only in even-numbered years; it alternates with KYA306, Astrophysics, so that all physics majors have the option to take one of these units treating macroscopic applications of gravitation, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and fluid dynamics. Honours students have the opportunity to take both units by planning accordingly.


Unit name Stellar and Planetary Physics
Unit code KYA305
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Physics
Coordinator Professor Andrew Cole
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 26/2/2024 22/3/2024 15/4/2024 2/6/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the principles underlying the structure of stars, planetary atmospheres, and their surroundings.
  • Apply relevant theoretical knowledge of physical principles to the transfer of radiation through various media, including both stellar and planetary atmospheres.
  • Explain and apply the observational and computational methods by which data are obtained for stellar and planetary systems including their immediate environs in space and their atmospheres.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses regarding stellar and planetary systems through experimentation.
  • Analyse the Earth-Sun system to evaluate evidence for and against competing hypotheses in stellar and terrestrial physics, including those regarding anthropogenic influence on climate.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
010300 $1,118.00 $1,118.00 not applicable $2,978.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.



KYA212 Electromagnetism & Thermodynamics AND KMA252 Calculus and Applications 2 OR admission into a Masters of Applied Science course


Teaching Pattern

3 x 50 minute lectures weekly, 1 x 50 minute tutorial weekly, 5 x 2-hr practicals

AssessmentPlanetary physics mid-term test (15%)|Stellar physics mid-term test (15%)|Weekly Problem Set Assignments (30%)|Examination (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Course pack prepared by lecturers.


“Physics of Radiation and Climate”, 2015, Michael P. Box and Gail Box, CRC Press, ISBN-13 978-1466572058, e-book available.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.