## Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

## Course Description

This course explores the applications of physics (Newtonian, statistical, and quantum mechanics) to fundamental processes that occur in celestial objects. The list of topics includes Main-sequence Stars, Collapsed Stars (White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes), Pulsars, Supernovae, the Interstellar Medium, Galaxies, and as time permits, Active Galaxies, Quasars, and Cosmology. Observational data is also discussed.

## Prerequisites

Students must have previously completed Quantum Physics I (8.04) and Quantum Physics II (8.05) with a grade of C or higher. No prior knowledge of astronomy is required.

## Textbooks

There is no single text for this course. All of the assigned readings come from the following texts:

Bohm-Vitense, Erika. *Introduction to Stellar Astrophysics*. 3 vols. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780521344029.

Binney, James, and Scott Tremaine. *Galactic Dynamics*. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987. ISBN: 9780691084442.

Clayton, Donald D. *Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis*. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1983. ISBN: 9780226109534.

Hansen, Carl J., and Steven D. Kawaler. *Stellar Interiors: Physical Principles, Structure, and Evolution*. New York, NY: Springer, 2004. ISBN: 9780387200897.

Mihalas, Dimitri, and James Binney. *Galactic Astronomy*. San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman, 1981, chapter 2. ISBN: 9780716712800.

Press, William H. *Introduction to Astrophysics*

Shu, Frank H. *The Physical Universe*. Mill Valley, CA: University Science Books, 1982. ISBN: 9780935702057.

Schechter, Paul. *8.902 Notes on Cosmology* (PDF)

Although these are not part of the required readings, students may also find the following books useful:

Binney, James, and Michael Merrifield. *Galactic Astronomy*. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780691004020.

Gray, David F. *The Observation and Analysis of Stellar Photospheres*. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780521851862.

Harwit, Martin. *Astrophysical Concepts*. New York, NY: Springer, 1998. ISBN: 9780387949437.

Longair, Malcolm S. *Galaxy Formation*. New York, NY: Springer, 1998. ISBN: 9783540637851.

Osterbrock, Donald E. *The Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei*. Sausalito, CA: University Science Books, 2006. ISBN: 9781891389344.

Ostlie, Dale A., and Bradley W. Carroll. *An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics*. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1996. ISBN: 9780201547306.

Peebles, P. J. E. *Physical Cosmology*. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971. ISBN: 9780691081083.

———. *Principles of Physical Cosmology*. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780691074283.

Schwarzschild, Martin. *Structure and Evolution of the Stars*. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1977. ISBN: 9780486614793.

———. *The Physics of Astrophysics*. 2 vols. Mill Valley, CA: University Science Books, 1991. ISBN: 9780935702644.

Silk, Joseph. *The Big Bang*. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman, 2001. ISBN: 9780716742463.

Spitzer, Lyman. *Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium*. New York, NY: Wiley, 1978. ISBN: 9780471022329.

Unsold, Albrecht. *The New Cosmos*. New York, NY: Springer, 2001. ISBN: 9783540678779.

Weinberg, Steven. *The First Three Minutes*. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1993. ISBN: 9780465024377.

———. *Gravitation and Cosmology*. New York, NY: Wiley, 1972. ISBN: 9780471925675.

## Problem Sets

There are 11 problem sets. Approximately one set is due per week. Solutions will be provided four days after the due date.

## Exams

There will be one in-class midterm exam. There will also be a comprehensive final exam, scheduled by the Registrar and held during the final exam period.

## Grading Policy

ACTIVITIES | PERCENTAGES |
---|---|

Midterm exam | 20% |

Problem sets | 40% |

Final exam | 40% |

## Calendar

SES # | TOPICS | KEY DATES |
---|---|---|

1 | Introduction Equatorial coordinates and sidereal time | |

2 | Galactic coordinates Distances to stars | |

3 | Magnitudes (apparent and absolute) and color indices | Problem set 1 due |

4 | Spectral classification The Kepler problem | |

5 | Parametric solution to Kepler | |

6 | Masses of stars Mass radius relation | |

7 | Mass measurements for exoplanets and our black hole | Problem set 2 due |

8 | Telescopes | |

9 | Polytropic stars | |

10 | Classical and quantum statistics The Saha equation | |

11 | Equations of state Application of Lane-Emden solution: White dwarfs | Problem set 3 due |

12 | Simple results for the sun and other stars | |

13 | Radiative transport | |

14 | Opacities Scaling laws Convection | Problem set 4 due |

15 | Energy generation Coulomb penetration factor | |

16 | Nuclear "burning" in the sun and other stars | |

17 | Evolution of stars of low, intermediate and high mass | Problem set 5 due |

18 | Stellar atmospheres | |

19 | Lines in stellar atmospheres | |

20 | In-class exam | Problem set 6 due |

21 | Introduction to the interstellar medium | |

22 | Photoionized nebulae (H II regions and planetaries) | |

23 | Supernovae and shocks | |

24 | Adiabatic supernova shocks | Problem set 7 due |

25 | Galaxy morphology | |

26 | Quantifiable properties of galaxies Collisional relaxation times | |

27 | Collisionless Boltzmann equation (cartesian) and its moments | Problem set 8 due |

28 | Boltzmann and the 4 jeans equations (spherical) | |

29 | Galaxy disks: Rotation and epicyclic motion | |

30 | Galaxy models: Potentials, orbits, and distribution functions | Problem set 9 due |

31 | Clusters of galaxies | |

32 | Evidence for the expansion and homegeneity of the universe Newtonian derivation of Friedmann universe | |

33 | Galaxy formation | Problem set 10 due |

34 | Friedman-Robertson-Walker metric | |

35 | Friedman equation with radiation and other stuff | |

36 | Supernovae and cosmic acceleration | Problem set 11 due |

37 | Recombination and helium production | |

38 | Fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background | |

Final exam |