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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Astrophysics 3 (PHYS10072)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionIn the first semester, students are introduced to the
physics of stars and their influence on their galactic environment. The basic observational properties of stars are reviewed including the HR diagram, followed by a discussion of the physical structure of stars on the Main Sequence to their final states as exotic objects: white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. The interactions of stars with their surroundings are described - namely HII regions, stellar winds and supernova remnants.

In the second semester, the course provides a broad introduction to the extragalactic universe. Topics include the properties of our own Milky Way Galaxy, the basic properties and evolution of other normal and active galaxies, basic stellar dynamics and the large scale structure and evolution of the Universe.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physics 2A (PHYS08022) AND Physics 2B (PHYS08023)
Students MUST have passed: Foundations of Mathematical Physics (PHYS08024) OR ( Applicable Mathematics 4 (Phys Sci) (MATH08017) AND Mathematical Methods 4 (Phys Sci) (MATH08018)) OR ( MP2A: Vectors, Tensors and Fields (PHYS08032) AND MP2B: Dynamics (PHYS08033))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Full Year, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
OtherLecture1-22 12:10 - 13:00
OtherLecture1-22 12:10 - 13:00
King's BuildingsTutorialTutorials3,5,7,9,11 11:10 - 13:00
King's BuildingsTutorialTutorials14,16,18,20,22 14:00 - 15:50
First Class Week 1, Tuesday, 12:10 - 13:00, Zone: Other. ROE Lecture Theatre
Additional information Workshop/tutorial sessions, as arranged.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Astrophysics 33:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Astrophysics 33:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, it is intended that the student will be able to :

1) Understand the physics behind the colour-magnitude diagram of stars.
2) Describe the physics of stellar structure, and apply hydrostatic equilibrium and radiative diffusion equations to get physical conditions and timescales.
3) Explain a star's energy production source and process, and describe how energy is transported out of a star.
4) Derive the equation of state of degenerate gas and describe the degeneracy pressure and support of white dwarfs and neutron stars.
5) Explain photoionization equilibrium, estimate the Stromgren radius and describe how the temperature and density of the intergalactic medium are measured.
6) Describe fluid dynamics equations, derive the sound speed and shock jump conditions, and explain the impact of stellar winds and supernovae on the intergalactic medium.
7) Correct for the effect on light of interstellar dust and the earth's atmosphere.
8) Describe in quantitative detail the morphology, content, structure and dynamics of the Milky Way and external galaxies.
9) Derive the basic formulae used to determine the velocity structure of the Milky Way, and to quantitatively describe the internal dynamics of stellar systems in general.
10) Explain how the masses of galaxies are deduced and how the distances to galaxies are established via the cosmological distance ladder.
11) Understand the physics of active galactic nuclei and be able to calculate order-of-magnitude estimates for key physical quantities.
12) Provide a quantitative description of the galaxy population at large, including galaxy number counts, luminosity functions, and clustering.
13) Describe in quantitative detail the evidence for an expanding and evolving Universe. Be able to derive and solve the basic equations describing the dynamics of the expansion.
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 100%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Observational Astronomy
- Measuring light, colour and temperature
- Stellar classification and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
Stellar equations
- Hydrostatic equilibrium
- Energy generation in stars
- Radiative diffusion
Main Sequence Stars
- Mass--luminosity relation
- Convection
- Upper and lower mass limits to main sequence
Post Main Sequence Evolution
- Degenerate stars
- Occupation numbers, critical densities, equation of state
- Chandrasekher limit and compact stars
The Interstellar Medium and HII regions
- Extinction
- HII regions: ionisation and Stromgren Spheres
- Temperature and density of the ISM
The Dynamic Interstellar Medium
- Fluid dynamics and sound waves
- Shocks; stellar winds; supernovae

The Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Stellar Dynamics
Active Galaxies
The Distance Scale
The Galaxy Distribution
The Universe

Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Philip Best
Course secretaryMiss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
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