# Course Identification

## Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

## Course Schedule and Location

Wednesday, 14:15 - 16:00, Weissman, Seminar Rm B

## Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Chemical Sciences: 4.00 points

## Comments

## Prerequisites

## Restrictions

## Language of Instruction

## Attendance and participation

## Grade Type

## Grade Breakdown (in %)

## Evaluation Type

**Final assignment**

## Scheduled date 1

## Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)

## Syllabus

[0] Introduction: What do we see out there? What we know, what we think and what we are clueless about.

[1] First solved problem: Gravitational few body dynamics and the motion of the planets and the moon. In particular, deriving the 1/r^2 law from observations and resolving the challenges posed by the large precession of the moon (surprisingly large 3-body effect) and mercury (general relativity).

[2] Second solved problem: Structure of Stars and White Dwarfs: How do they work? How do we know? Calculating the main properties roughly (analytically) and accurately (numerically) and comparing to observations.

[3] A little about stellar evolution.

[4] Some things we know about stellar explosions (supernovae). In particular, demonstrating that supernovae contribute significantly to the abundances of elements heavier than helium and therefore are important for our existence.

[5] Some things we know about extremely compact objects- neutron stars and black holes.

[6] The distance ladder and a little about galaxies.

## Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:

- Have a grasp of some of what (we know) is out there and understand the basic physics behind it.
- Calculate observable properties of key astronomical phenomena, both exactly by preforming numerical calculations and approximately using analytic estimates. In particular, the student will accurately calculate the mass-radius relation of white dwarfs, the mass-radius+luminosity relation of main-sequence stars, and the motion of the planets and the moon and compare the results to observations.
- Appreciate some of the main open questions that are currently pursued by astrophysicists.

## Reading List

There is no clear reading list. Students will often be encouraged to look at the original papers.

I recommend listening to the (story-level) overview podcasts by Pogge: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Audio/.

A nice intro book which is a bit more serious is:

F. Shu / The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy.

While both of these are at a technical level which is significantly lower than the class they may be useful.