Introduction to Astrophysics


Astrophysics is the study of the planets, the Sun and other stars, the Milky Way Galaxy and the other galaxies, the interstellar medium and intergalactic medium, and the Universe itself. This study is aided by our knowledge of the laws of Physics discovered by experiments carried out in laboratories. Occasionally the astronomical observations reveal new fundamental laws of Physics. For example the observations of motions of the planets helped Newton discover the universe square law of gravitation. We begin with the motions of the Sun and the Moon as we see them across the sky, then to the motions of the planets. We then go on to describe how stars are born, and evolve, until they end up as white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. During this evolution, elements like C, N, O, etc. all the way to U were synthesized and dispersed across the Galaxy by stellar winds and supernova explosions. We will also discuss fascinating topics, like, cosmic rays and astronomies with radio, x-ray, gamma-ray and gravitational waves. In short we will discuss everything that is contained in the universe and the evolution of the universe itself. The purpose of the course is to kindle your interest in these exotic phenomena and prepare you for their more detailed study. Knowledge of the Physics described in the introductory course in physics (such as 197 and 198) will be very helpful in readily following the lectures; however a brief summary of the needed background will be provided during the lectures. Prerequisites: Phys 191-192 or Phys 193-194 or Phys 197-198 or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: FA NSM; BU SCI; AR NSM; AS NSM

Section 01

Introduction to Astrophysics
INSTRUCTOR: Errando Trias
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Ramanath Cowsik

Ramanath Cowsik

Professor of Physics