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PH10103: Relativity and astrophysics

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2019/0
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 10%, EX 90%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • C-Coursework (CW 10%)
  • C-Exam (EX 90%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PH10004
You must have A-level Physics (or equivalent) and A-level Mathematics (or equivalent) to take this unit
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to introduce the concepts and results of special relativity and to provide a broad introduction to astronomy and astrophysics. An additional aim is that the student's appreciation of important physical phenomena such as gravitation and blackbody radiation should be reinforced through their study in astrophysical contexts.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* write down the essential results and formulae of special relativity;
* describe the important special relativity experiments (real or thought);
* solve simple kinematic and dynamical special relativity problems;
* describe the physical properties of stars and galaxies;
* give qualitative accounts of how the Sun and planets were formed;
* give a general description of stellar evolution;
* give a general description of the expanding Universe and its large-scale structure;
* solve straightforward problems concerning orbital motion, blackbody radiation, stellar luminosity and magnitude, Hubble's Law.

Skills:
Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Content:
Gravitation (2 hours): Gravitational force and potential energy. Weight and mass. Circular orbits; Kepler's Laws; planetary motion. Escape velocity. Newtonian cosmology.
Special relativity (7 hours): Galilean transformation. Michelson-Morley experiment. Einstein's postulates. Simultaneity; time dilation, space contraction, invariant intervals, rest frames, proper time, proper length. Lorentz transformation. Relativistic momentum, force, energy. Doppler effect.
General relativity (2 hours): Gravity and geometry. The principle of equivalence. Deflection of light; curvature of space. Gravitational time dilation.
Astrophysical Techniques (2 hours): Telescopes and detectors. Invisible astronomy: X-rays, gamma-rays, infrared and radio astronomy. Gravitational force and potential energy. Weight and mass. Circular orbits; Kepler's Laws; planetary motion. Escape velocity.
Solar System (2 hours): Earth-Moon system. Terrestrial planets; Jovian planets. Planetary atmospheres. Comets and meteoroids. Formation of the solar system. Structure of the sun.
Stars (4 hours): The interstellar medium and star birth. Stellar distances, magnitudes, luminosities; black-body radiation; stellar classification; Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Stellar Evolution. Star death: white dwarfs, neutron stars.
Galaxies (3 hours): Galactic structure; classification of galaxies. The Large scale structure of the Universe. Hubble's Law. The expanding universe. The hot Big Bang.
Cosmic background radiation and the ripples therein.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH10103 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Physics (Year 1)
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 1)
  • USPH-AAB10 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys(Hons) Physics (Year 1)
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Research placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AAM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional Placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 1)
  • USPH-AFM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 1)
  • USPH-AFM11 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Research placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AAM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Professional Placement (Year 1)
  • USPH-AKM11 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 1)

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