PHYS2541 Stars and Galaxies (2010/11)
6 lectures + 1 examples class in Michaelmas Term
Syllabus: Introduction to the tools of modern astronomy, siting observatories, telescope design and mirror size, telescope optics, field of view, effective focal length, detectors, noise and signal-to-noise, spectoscopy, adaptive optics and future telescope projects.
20 lectures + 5 examples classes in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms
Syllabus: Hydrostatic equilibrium; stellar nuclear processes; energy transport in stars; the opacity of stars; the equations of stellar structure; evolution off the main sequence; shell-burning stars; white dwarfs; supernovae; neutron stars; black holes. Variable Stars: Pulsating Stars; the period-luminosity relation; classes of pulsating stars; the physics of stellar pulsation; the period-density relation. Pulsars; distribution; basic pulsar models; spin-down and characteristic age; glitches. Binary Star Systems: Classification of binary systems; mass determination using binary stars; radius determination using binary stars; close binary star systems; accretion discs; cataclysmic variables and X-ray binaries. Star Formation: the ISM; Interstellar dust and molecules; Jean's Mass; the Hayashi track.
14 lectures + 4 examples classes in Epiphany and Easter Terms
Syllabus: Galaxy types, the discovery of the Galaxy, modern view of the Galaxy, the interstellar medium, dynamics of the galaxy disk, dark haloes, elliptical galaxies, groups and clusters of galaxies, galaxy statistics, active galactic nuclei, gravitational lensing.
Lectures: 2 one-hour lectures per week
Examples classes: These provide an opportunity to work through and digest the course material by attempting exercises and assignments assisted by direct interaction with the lecturers and demonstrators. Students will be divided into four groups, each of which will attend one one-hour class every two weeks.
Problem exercises: See http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/students/problems/