Introduction to Astrophysics
Spring Semester 2011
M51 whirlpool galaxy (courtesy SDSS)
Office: Physics 283, 660-2564
Office hours: Mondays 2-4pm, or whenever my door is open, or by appointment
Teaching Assistant: Kevin Finelli (finelli"at"phy.duke.edu)
Kevin's office hours: Tue and Thu 2:30 - 3:30pm
Room: Physics 150
Times: Mon & Wed, 6:00 - 7:15pm. First lecture: Wed 12 Jan.
Audience and Prerequisites
This is an undergraduate course, aimed at students who have completed at least
2 semesters of introductory physics, and 2 semesters of calculus.
Prerequisites: PHY-41/42 or PHY-51/52 or PHY-53/54 or PHY-61/62, MATH-31/32
OR, consent of the instructor.
See the linked syllabus above for a rough outline of lecture material.
This might change a bit during the course if topical issues of interest arise.
Textbooks and References
Text: Introduction to High-Energy Astrophysics, by Rosswog and Bruggen, 2007 (available from the Duke bookstore, or amazon)
Modern Astrophysics, Carroll and Ostlie (1996)
Various other reading materials will be handed out in class
Homework assignments: 25%
Independent Project: 15%
Two midterm exams: 30% (15% each)
Final exam (3 hours): 30%
Lecture handouts will be made available here.
From L1, see me for the following handouts: Intro to SR, units, project ideas
From L2, see me for handout on space-time diagrams
From L3, see me for handout on relativistic momentum
From L4, see me for handouts on stellar classification, and further information about space-time diagrams
Stellar nuclear reactions 1
Stellar nuclear reactions 2
Stellar nuclear reactions 3
Stellar Structure Equations additional notes for 21 March lecture
Electron Degeneracy Pressure additional notes for 23 March lecture
Final Stages of Stellar Evolution additional notes for 30 March lecture
Practice Exam (Exam II from 2010)
There will be approximately 8 problem sets throughout the semester, which
you can download from here in pdf format.
Homework #1 : due 5:00pm Fri
28 Jan 2011
Homework #2 : due 8:00pm Mon
14 Feb 2011
Homework #3 : due 11:59pm Fri
25 Feb 2011
Homework #4 : due 11:59pm Mon
21 March 2011
Homework #5 : due 11:59pm Mon
4 April 2011
Homework #6 and #7 : due 11:59pm Wed
27 April 2011 solns
A list of possible topics is available here .
When you submit your final project, please do so in electronic form -- pdf is preferred.
Project milestone dates
14 February: Title
7 March: abstract (length about 1/3 to 1/2 page) giving a synopsis of your project and how it will be structured
21 March: Project outline with notes on what each section will contain. Perhaps some sections, such as the introduction will be in draft form. We will then give you feedback on this for your final version. The more content you provide the more feedback we can give you.
21 April: Final project due.
In-class Exam I: Monday, Feb 28, 6pm
In-class Exam II: Wednesday, April 6, 6pm
FINAL EXAM: TBA
Mark Kruse, prepared for Spring 2011.