ASTRON 331: Astrophysics, Spring 2017



– In-class midterm on April 27.
– Class canceled on May 23 and guest lecture on gravitational waves on May 25.
– The final exam will cover the entire term. Material covered during the guest lecture will not be on the final.
– If you have questions as you prepare for the final, email me and I will be happy to set up a time to meet.

Reading and slides shown in class:

– March 28: First lecture overview. Reading: Maoz chap. 1 and Phillips section 1.1.
– March 30: Reading: Maoz 2.1, 2.2.

– April 3: Distances, binaries, exoplanets. Reading: Maoz 2.3.
– April 6: Reading Maoz 3.1-3.3. Phillips 1.2, 1.7.

– April 11: Reading Maoz 3.4-3.5. Phillips 3.1.
– April 13: Maoz 3.6, 3.7, 3.8. Phillips 2.1 (you can skip for now the last part on quantum gases, which we will return to later), 2.3.

– April 18: Maoz 3.9. Phillips 4.1.
– April 20: Maoz 3.10. Phillips 4.2.

– April 25: Slides on CNO cycle and neutrinos (updated 5/3/17). Finish hydrogen burning, cover neutrinos; finish Maoz 3.10. Phillips 4.2.
– April 27: Midterm — no new reading.

– May 2: Slides on convection and numerical solutions of stellar structure. For copies of the stellar structure animations, see this link.
Maoz 3.11, 3.12, 4.1. Phillips 3.2, 3.3, 4.3 (you do not need to absorb details of the He burning reactions given in this section beyond the net effect covered in class, but reading through the section is useful to give you a sense of how He burning occurs in detail).
– May 4: Slides on stellar evolution beyond the main sequence. For the animations, see this link.

– May 9: Phillips 4.3 on advanced stages of nuclear burning in massive stars. The details of the reactions involved are beyond the scope of this course, but the section is an easy read and gives a good overview of how different heavy elements are produced. Maoz 4.3.1 on core collapse and 4.3.3 on supernovae.
– May 11: Slides on WDs and thermonuclear (Type Ia)
. Maoz 4.2 on matter at quantum densities and white dwarfs. The treatment of degeneracy pressure in Maoz (the one that we will follow in class for brevity) skips some details needed to make the derivations fully rigorous. Phillips 2.1 (general statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of ideal gases) and 2.2 (on electron gases) provide a more rigorous treatment.

– May 16: Neutron star slides. Maoz 4.3.2 on properties of neutron stars and 4.3 on pulsars and supernova remnants.
– May 18: Slides on black holes, transient astrophysics, and gravitational waves. Maoz 4.5 on basic properties of black holes. I encourage you to also read Maoz 4.6 on interacting binaries to learn more about how black holes can power electromagnetic emission by accretion, but the math of this section will be beyond the scope of the course.

– May 23: No class (canceled)
– May 25: Guest lecture on gravitational waves by expert Katie Breivik.

Problem sets:

Problem set 1, due April 6.
Problem set 2, due April 18. Solutions to some problems that caused difficulty (credit: Z. Hafen)
Problem set 3, due May 2.
Problem set 4, due May 16.
Problem set 5, due May 25.