PHYS3541 Astrophysics (2011/12)
18 lectures + 4 examples classes in Michaelmas Term
Syllabus: The large scale properties of the Universe: isotropy, homogeneity, Hubble Flow. The Friedmann models: the big bang, age of the Universe, closed, flat and open models, comoving coordinates. The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation: the discovery and origin of the CMB; The role of pressure in an expanding universe. The Cosmological constant. The Geometry of the Universe: luminosity and angular diameter distances, galaxy number counts, the Hubble diagram. The thermal history of the universe and the origin of the light elements. Dark matter and dark energy. Problems with the Big Bang model and Inflation.
Required: An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, A. Liddle (Wiley, 2nd Ed.)
Additional: Cosmological Physics, J.A. Peacock (CUP)
Additional: Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure, P. Coles and F. Lucchin (Wiley)
18 lectures + 4 examples classes in Epiphany Term
Syllabus: Constituents of the Solar System: main features of the solar system, the planets, the asteroids, comets. Orbital Mechanics: 2-body motion, integrals of motion, Kepler's Laws, Vis Viva equation, elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic orbits, spacecraft orbits, Lagrange's restricted 3-body problem, tidal effects, dynamical effects of solar radiation pressure. Planetary Interiors: atomic forces, mass-radius relation, hydrostatic equilibrium, bulk modulus, Lane-Emden equation, observational basis for models of planetary interiors, interior of the Earth from seismology, interior heat sources, plate tectonics. Magnetic Fields in the Solar System: observed magnetic fields, magnetic field in conducting fluid, the turbulent dynamo. Planetary Atmospheres: retention of atmospheres by planetary bodies, atmospheres of Earth, Venus and Mars, evolution of climate. Origin of the Solar System: solar nebula theory. Extra-solar planets.
Additional: Planetary Sciences, I. De Pater and J. Lissauer (CUP)
Additional: Moons and Planets, W.K. Hartmann (Wadsworth, 3rd or 4th Ed.)
Additional: Physics of the Earth and the Solar System, B. Bertotti and P. Farinella (Kluwer Academic)
3 lectures in Easter Term, One by each lecturer
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 groups, each of which will attend one one-hour class every two weeks.
Problem exercises: See http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/students/problems/