Department of Physics, Unit Catalogue 2006/07
PH30057 Stellar & galactic astrophysics
| Credits: 6 |
| Semester: 2|
|Before taking this unit you must (take PH10001 or take PH10048) and (take PH10004 or take PH20059) and take PH10007 and take PH10008 and (take PH20013 or take PH20060)|
or their equivalents.
Aims & Learning Objectives:
The aims of this unit are to explore the physical processes that lead to the formation and evolution of stars and to the structure and chemical evolution of galaxies. An additional aim is that certain core physics material from the first and second years should be strengthened through study of these astrophysical topics. After taking this unit the student should be able to
* recognise how observations made across the EM spectrum yield information on astrophysical phenomena and that the techniques used have limitations
* describe the structure and dynamics of galaxies and how they are related
* outline the key steps in the formation and evolution of galaxies
* describe the physical processes occurring in the inter-stellar medium
* discuss in detail how stars form from gravitational collapse of dense gas clouds
* solve order of magnitude problems
on any part of the syllabus. Content: Galactic Astrophysics; Morphology & Classification. Constituents and observational properties of galaxies. Tully-Fisher relation. The fundamental plane. Galactic rotation formulae. Surface brightness. The galaxy luminosity function. Observational selection effects. Galaxies and the Universe. Standard candles and the distance ladder. Clusters and super-clusters. Evidence for dark matter. Galaxy formation. Jeans instability. The chemical evolution of galaxies. Observations of high redshift proto-galaxies. Stellar Astrophysics; Components of the ISM. Dark clouds. HII regions. T-Tauri stars. HH objects. Masers. Angular momentum and magnetic field problems. Obtaining information about the ISM. Spectral line shapes. Interstellar reddening. Optical depth. Dust grains. Formation of molecules. Radiatively excited regions. Continuum emission. Hydrostatic equilibrium. Collapse processes. Star formation. Evolution of protostars. Molecular outflows. Zero-age main sequence stars. Evolution off the main sequence. Late stages of stellar evolution. Supernovae. Stellar remnants.