Lecturer: Elizabeth Stanway
Weighting: 15 CATS
To introduce the most important physical processes and detection methods required for understanding the broad band emission spectra of astrophysical objects from the radio regime to X-rays and gamma-rays, to provide a basis for further studies in observational astrophysics.
At the end of this module you should be:
- be able to identify the major emission mechanisms of astrophysical objects
- understand the physical basis of detection methods for UV-radiation and X-rays from astrophysical sources.
- understand how electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics are used to predict the emission of radiation.
- be able to quantify physical conditions in a variety of astrophysical systems using measured data.
- understand how gravitational potential energy produces most of the high-energy radiation of the Universe through the process of accretion
- Observational instrumentation, telescope design, detectors
- Accretion onto compact objects as a source of energy
- The Eddington limit: a maximum accretion rate
- The structure and the emission of accretion disks
- The occurence of jets in astrophysical objects
- Binary stars: configuration, evolution, stable and unstable mass transfer
- Accretion onto magnetic stars, Alven radius
- Radiation from free electrons, Larmor formula, synchrotron radiation, cyclotron radiation
- Thermal bremsstrahlung from hot accretion plasmas
- Stable and unstable nuclear shell burning in accreting white dwarfs and neutron stars
- Black holes of different masses
- Supernovae and gamma-ray burst: massive stars, exploding white dwarfs, merging neutron stars
- Pulsars: origin, emission, evolution
Commitment: 24 Lectures and 5 problem classes
Assessment: 2 hour examination
This module has a home page.
Recommended Texts: H Bradt, Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations, Cambridge University Press
J Frank, AR King and DJ Raine, Accretion Power in Astrophysics, CUP
C Hellier Cataclysmic Variables: How and why they vary, Springer
Leads to: 4th year modules on astrophysics