Undergraduate Course: High Energy Astrophysics (PHYS11013)
Course Outline
School  School of Physics and Astronomy 
College  College of Science and Engineering 
Course type  Standard 
Availability  Available to all students 
Credit level (Normal year taken)  SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) 
Credits  10 
Home subject area  Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) 
Other subject area  None 
Course website 
None 
Taught in Gaelic?  No 
Course description  The term `High Energy Astrophysics' can be interpreted in many different ways. In the most narrow sense, it refers to observations involving high energy photons, primarily Xrays and gammarays. In a broader and more astrophysical view, it refers to the study of objects such as supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, binary Xray sources, gammaray bursts, active galactic nuclei, radio jets, and clusters of galaxies, which involve extreme conditions, like high energies, temperatures, or densities. These objects have high energy particles, even if the photons that they emit have much lower energies. This course examines the many physical processes which are important in the structure and emission of light from extreme astrophysical sources. Starting from Maxwell's equations, the classical theory of radiation from an accelerated charge is developed, and generalised to the relativistic case. Topic studied then include: synchrotron radiation from relativistic electrons gyrating in a magnetic field; the acceleration of particles to relativistic energies; Compton and inverse Compton scattering; accretion of material onto compact objects; Radio galaxies and quasars, and their jets; bremsstrahlung emission from hot gas; cooling flows and the role of black holes in galaxy formation.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Prerequisites 
Students MUST have passed:
Physical Mathematics (PHYS09015)

Corequisites  
Prohibited Combinations  
Other requirements  At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q. 
Additional Costs  None 
Information for Visiting Students
Prerequisites  None 
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?  Yes 
Course Delivery Information

Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1)

WebCT enabled: Yes 
Quota: None 
Location 
Activity 
Description 
Weeks 
Monday 
Tuesday 
Wednesday 
Thursday 
Friday 
Other  Lecture  Lectures  111   14:00  14:50     Other  Lecture  Lectures  111      14:00  14:50  Other  Tutorial  Tutorials  3,5,7,9,11  15:00  17:00     
First Class 
Week 1, Tuesday, 14:00  14:50, Zone: Other. ROE Lecture Theatre 
Exam Information 
Exam Diet 
Paper Name 
Hours:Minutes 


Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)  High Energy Astrophysics  2:00   
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
1) From Maxwell's equations, derive & solve wave equations for the electrostatic & magnetic vector potentials; discuss & apply the Lorentz condition;
2) Demonstrate that Maxwell's theory conforms to Special Relativity;
3) Define the distant zone; solve wave equation there;
4) Obtain electric & magnetic fields from the potentials in general, & in the distant zone;
5) Understand & apply the Poynting vector;
6) Derive Larmor's nonrelativistic formula, & discuss effects of enhanced energy loss & beaming of radiation, for relativisticallymoving charges;
7) Derive & apply the relativistic Larmor formula;
8) Demonstrate understanding of fourvectors, the summation convention, invariants;
9) Derive the orbit of a relativistic particle in a uniform magnetic field; compute its lossrate;
10) Derive approximately the peak frequency of synchrotron radiation;
11) Show that the spectrum of synchrotron radiation is a powerlaw and a cutoff;
12) Argue that synchrotron radiation is polarised; derive the spectrum of radiation for a powerlaw energy distribution of electron; discuss synchrotron selfabsorption;
13) Show that there is a minimum energy configuration to account for observed synchrotron emission;
14) Describe the physical process of diffusive shock acceleration, & derive the powerlaw energy slope for particles in nonrelativistic shocks;
15) Derive Compton scattering effects using conservation of 4momentum;
16) Describe inverse Compton scattering, & compute approximately its lossrate & spectrum; describe the inverse Compton catastrophe & its importance in radio cores;
17) Discuss equipartition fields & the effect of losses on the spectrum;
18) Show how apparent superluminal motion may arise;
19) Derive & discuss Faraday rotation & its importance, & how to avoid its effects;
20) Derive the loss rate for Bremsstrahlung;
21) Discuss the physics of the Blandford & Rees jet model. 
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 100%

Special Arrangements
None 
Additional Information
Academic description 
Not entered 
Syllabus 
Not entered 
Transferable skills 
Not entered 
Reading list 
Not entered 
Study Abroad 
Not entered 
Study Pattern 
Not entered 
Keywords  HEA 
Contacts
Course organiser  Dr Philip Best
Tel:
Email: pnb@roe.ac.uk 
Course secretary  Miss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
Email: paw@roe.ac.uk 

