# Course Identification

Physics module: Topics in astrophysics
20246291

Prof. Boaz Katz
Ben Shenhar

## Course Schedule and Location

2024
First Semester
Tuesday, 15:45 - 17:15, Science Teaching Lab 3
12/12/2023
12/03/2024

## Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching (non thesis MSc Track): Lecture; Obligatory; Regular; 2.00 points

לתלמידי שנה ב
פורמט היברידי

No

20

Hebrew

## Attendance and participation

Obligatory

Numerical (out of 100)

50%
50%

Take-home exam

N/A
N/A
-
N/A

5

## 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.

[3.2] Third (partly) solved problem: The expansion of the universe. What do we know about the "Big Bang" and how? What problems did it solve (e.g. formation of Helium)? What we don't know (e.g. why is the universe expanding??)

[4] Some things we know about neutron stars, black holes and 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.

## Learning Outcomes

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

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.

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