Asrtophysics A
(Radiative Processes)
Asrtophysics B
(Quantum Physics of atoms and molecules & Hydrodynamics)
Statstical Methods in Astrophysics   

  1. Astrophysics-A ("Radiative Processes in Astrophysics") -- 6 e.c.

    Content: This course is mandatory for all astronomy students and provides a solid basis for many advanced courses. Purpose of the course is to provide insight into elementary radiation processes that play an important role in astronomy.

    Literature: "Radiative Processes in Astrophysics" by Rybicki & Lightman (R&L) Chapters 1-8.

    The Topics covered in this course are:

    • Thermal radiation (bremsstrahlung, black body radiation).
    • Non-thermal radiation processes (synchrotron radiation, inverse Compton radiation).
    • Fundamentals of EM radiation and radiation transport.
    • Polarization, propagation of EM radiation through a plasma.

    Learning objective:

    1. Mathematical preliminaries (including Fourier transform).
    2. Fundamentals of radiative transfer: the radiative transfer equation, optical depth, source function, black body radiation, the second law of thermodynamics, Kirchhoff's law, and thermal radiation - can discuss the thermodynamics of black body radiation, Einstein coefficients for spontaneous emission, absorption, stimulated emission.
    3. Theory of radiation fields: Lorentz force, Maxwell's equations, EM waves, polarization, scalar potential and vector potential.
    4. Radiation from moving charges: Lienard-Wiechart potentials, beaming effect, Larmor's formula, the dipole approximation, Thomson scattering.
    5. Relativistic covariance and kinematics: Lorentz transformation, the aberration of light and the beaming effect, four vectors. Covariance formulation of the special theory of relativity and electromagnetism as a relativistic theory.
    6. Bremsstrahlung: free-free scattering in the small angle scattering regime, Gaunt factor, thermal and non-thermal bremsstrahlung.
    7. Synchrotron radiation: the total emitted power, observed pulses, radiation from a power-law electron distribution, polarization of synchrotron emission, synchrotron self-absorption and stimulated emission
    8. Compton Scattering: Compton wavelength, inverse Compton scattering, the Compton y parameter.
    9. Plasma effects: Maxwell equations for a cold isotropic plasma, the plasma frequency, the dispersion measureand and Faraday rotation.

  2. Astrophysics-B ("Quantum Physics of Atoms and Molecules & Hydrodynamics") -- 6 e.c. (Lectures PDF)

    Content: This course is mandatory for all astronomy students and provides a solid basis for many advanced courses. The purpose of the course is to complete the physical background that the student needs in the topics that play an importnant role in astronomy. In practice the course contains two unrelated parts, the first part is quantum physics of atoms and molecules and the second is fluid mechanics.

    Literature: For the atomic quantum physics part the main book is:
    "Radiative Processes in Astrophysics" by Rybicki & Lightman Chapters 9-11. Other books that are used in the lectures are: 1- "Introductory Quantum Mechnics" by R. Liboff & 2- "Quantum Mechnics", by L.I. Schiff

    For the fluid dynamics part of the course the main book is:
    "Fluis Mechanics" by Landau & Lifshitz
    other books for this part are: 1- "A first course in fluid dynamics", by A.R. Paterson

    The Topics covered in the first part of the course are:

    • Atomic Structure (Central field approx., The Pauli principle, Hartree-Fock approx., LS & spin-orbit coupling, Zeeman effect and hyperfine level splitting, the Saha equation).
    • Radiative Transitions (Semi-classical theory, the Dipole approx., Einstein coefficients & oscilator strength, selection rules, line broadening mechanisms, Voigt profile).
    • Moleccular Structure (The born-Oppenheimer approx., H2+ ion & H2 molecule, rotational & vibrational spectra).

    The Topics covered in the second part of the course are:

    • Ideal fluids (the fluid approx., the continuity & Euler equations, isentropic fluids, vorticity & its equation, Bernoulli's equation, Kelvin's circulation theorem, hydrostatic fluids, incompressible fluids, enegy & velocity fluxes, the momentum flux tensor)
    • Viscous fluids (the Navier-Stokes equation, viscosity coefficients, energy disppation in incompressible fluids, examples of viscous flow, Reynolds number, similarity law)
    • Turbulence ( [in-]stability of steady flow, Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, weak fully developed turbulence, Kolmogorov spectrum(.
    • Sound waves (wave equation, sound speed, Mach number)
    • Introduction to Supersonic Flow (Shock tube, Rankine-Hugoniot jump conditions, Rayleigh's line, Hugoniot curve, density, and pressure ratios across a shock, shock speed).