Astro 4006  Physical Astronomy (Olmi)
Text
 Modern Stellar Astrophysics, Ostlie and Carroll (Addison Wesley 1996)
 The Physical Universe, Shu (University Science Books, 1982)
 Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics, Zeilik and Gregory (Brooks/Cole, 1997)
Description
This course serves as an overview of modern astronomy and as an introduction to basic astrophysical techniques. The goal is to provide the broad physical foundation, necessary to begin research in astronomy and astrophysics. Among the topics covered are: telescopes and observational methods; the physics of stars and stellar evolution; the physics of the interstellar medium. The course also covers some basic physical topics such as: black body theory and spectroscopy.
Objectives
After completing this course the student will be familiar with a broad range of astrophysical phenomena and methods, with some of mathematical physics applied to them. The student should be able to investigate actual astronomical problems with some basic physics and be roughly prepared to begin a directed research program in astronomy.
Grading
Grading is based on three exams, with each exam having a 25% weight, plus three quiz with a total weight of 25%. Problems in the exams and quiz will be based on examples encountered in class.
Contents
 Telescopes and instrumentation for Astronomy
 Basic types of telescopes
 Diffraction and power pattern of a telescope
 Interferometry and interferometers
 Telescopes for UV and Xrays
 Detectors: incoherent and coherent detectors
 Black Body theory
 Brief review of wave motion and energy carried by waves
 EM waves and Poynting vector
 Derivation of Planck's law
 Main properties of Black Body emission
 Definition of flux density and luminosity

Introduction to spectroscopy
 Historical introduction
 Photoelectric effect and the Bohr atom
 Emission and absorption of a photon: energy levels and degeneration
 Energy transitions and spectral lines
 Boltzmann and Saha laws: stellar spectra
 Contributions to the line width

Introduction to radiative transport
 Opacity and column density
 Equation of radiative transport
 Optically thin and thick limits

Fundamentals of stellar structure
 The Virial theorem
 Fundamental equations of stellar structure
 Energy source and energy transport in a star
 Application to the Sun
 Nuclear fusion: pp and CNO cycles
 He and heavier elements burning

Stellar evolution
 Evolutionary tracks on the HR diagram: from main sequence to supergiant phase
 Iron crisis and supernova explosion
 Degenerate states and Chandrasekhar limit
 Final stages of massive stars: neutron stars and black holes
 Main properties of Pulsars

The interstellar medium
 Interstellar extinction and interstellar dust
 Hydrogen atomic and molecular gas: molecular clouds
 Emission and absorption of interstellar molecules
 Twolevel model and Einstein coefficients: radiative and collisional processes
 Emission and absorption of interstellar molecules
 Symmetric and asymmetric top molecules