FIS/05 - 6 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course is aimed at providing the student the basic knowledge and the state of the art of some topics in Astrophysics: knowledge of the astronomical coordinate systems; knowledge of the instruments for astronomical observation; knowledge of the mechanisms of formation of stellar spectra; knowledge of the internal structure of stars and of the various phases of stellar evolution; knowledge of the Sun’s structure; knowledge of the galaxies structure; knowledge of the theories on formation and evolution of the Universe.

Detailed Course Content

1 - Introduction
Methodology of investigation in astrophysics - Distances scales and units - Tools for observation - Astronomical coordinates systems.
2 - The solar system and the extra-solar systems
Planets, satellites, asteroids, meteorites, comets - Kepler's Laws - The extra-solar planets - Life in the Universe
3 - The stars
Stellar atmospheres: Formation of spectral lines - Equations of Boltzman and Saha - Stellar spectra
Stellar parameters: magnitude and brightness - Spectral classification of stars - Basic parameters of the stars - The Hertzprung-Russell diagram.
Internal Structure: The equations of stellar structure - Mass-luminosity Law - Nuclear fusion processes - Mechanisms of energy transport
Stellar evolution: The interstellar medium: structure and composition - The Jeans criterion for gravitational collapse and star formation - Main sequence phase - Evolution of the stars outside the main sequence - Final evolutionary stages - Planetary nebulae, novae and supernovae - White dwarfs, neutron stars and blacks holes.
4 - The Sun, a typical main-sequence star
Physical characteristics - Internal Structure - Photosphere, chromosphere, corona - Magnetic fields and dynamo mechanism - Solar activity (sunspots, faculae, prominences, flares, coronal mass ejection) - Solar Wind.
5 - Our Galaxy
Morphology, dynamics and physical characteristics of the Galaxy - Globular and open clusters - Stellar Populations - Dark Matter.
6 - Galaxies
Morphological classification of galaxies - Physical characteristics and processes of galaxy formation - Clusters and superclusters.
7 - Cosmology
Observational cosmology: Hubble's law and the expansion of the universe, the cosmic microwave background. - Dark matter and dark energy.

Textbook Information

• Kutner M.L., Astronomy: a physical perspective, Cambridge University Press

• Shipman H.L., Introduzione all’astronomia, Zanichelli

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