AST 221: Stars & Planets

Fall 2017, Marten van Kerkwijk

Course Outline & Lecture Notes

For every lecture, the parts of Carroll & Ostlie (=CO) covered are listed in italics. Links below the lecture titles are to the slides, posted as a regular pdf and one having 4 slides per page.
Note: the detailed schedule may well change.

Week 0
Sep 8
Instructor at Jodrell Bank No class
Week 1
Sep 11 PS I available Course Overview
pdf, pdf4
Syllabus; topics; basic astronomical units.
CO, S3.1, 3.2.
Sep 13
Gravity I
pdf, pdf4
Kepler's laws (for 1-body); energy & angular momentum.
CO, S1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2.
Sep 15
Tutorial Seasons; distances to Moon, Sun & nearest stars; parallax.
CO, S1.3, 3.1.
Week 2
Sep 18
Gravity II
pdf, pdf4
Generalized Kepler's laws for 2-body (binary stars); N-body.
CO, S2.3
Sep 20
Gravity III
pdf, pdf4
tides; tidal friction; synchronization & circularization.
CO, S19.2, 18.1 (up to "classes of binary systems"). Also, a nice review on the Earth-Moon system.
Sep 22 PS I due Tutorial Detecting extra-solar planets (applying Kepler's laws).
CO, S7.4, 23.1
Week 3
Sep 25 PS II available Astrophysics I. Hydrostatic Equilibrium
pdf, pdf4
Gravity of spherical body; dynamical collapse; hydrostatic equilibrium; pressure; ideal gas; mean molecular weight.
CO, S10.1, 10.2
Sep 27
Astrophysics II. Virial Theorem
pdf, pdf4
Gravitational, thermal, kinetic energy; virial theorem; application to Sun; gravito-thermal collapse, negative specific heat.
CO, S2.4, 10.3 (up to nuclear)
Sep 29
Week 4
Oct 2
Astrophysics III. Nuclear Fusion
pdf, pdf4
Binding energy of nucleus; quantum tunneling; nuclear fusion; stability of the Sun
CO, S5.4 (up to p. 132, QM atom), 10.3
Oct 4
Astrophysics IV. Radiation
pdf, pdf4
Photons; mean free path, random walk, photon diffusion time; blackbody; photosphere of the Sun.
CO, S3.3, 3.4, 5.2, 9.3
Oct 7 PS II due Tutorial
Week 5
Oct 9 PS III available Thanksgiving No class
Oct 11 Presentation
choices can be made
Astrophysics V. Photon-Matter Interaction
pdf, pdf4
Hydrogen model atom; electronic transitions; stellar spectra;   optical depth, radiative transfer equation.
CO, S3.5, Ch.5, S8.1 (parts), 10.4 (up to pressure scale height)
Oct 13
Week 6
Oct 16
Stars I.

pdf, pdf4
Observed properies: colour-magnitude diagram; spectral types; mass-radius-luminosity relation; main-sequence; life times; equations of stellar structure.
CO, S10.5 (up to Num. model.), 10.6, Ch. 7, S3.6, 8.2
Oct 18
Stars II.
High Mass Stars

pdf, pdf4
Evolution of high-mass stars after core-hydrogen exhaustion.
CO, S13.1 (parts), S15.1–15.2 (up to light curves)
Oct 20
Tutorial NS merger - gravitational wave detection
(nice explanation; also CO, pp703—706)
Week 7
Oct 23 Presentation
choices due

PS III due
Stars III.
Low Mass Stars

pdf, pdf4
Evolution of low-mass stars after core-hydrogen exhaustion; degeneracy.
CO, S13.1–13.3, S16.1, 16.3
Oct 25
Stars IV.
Stellar Corpses

pdf, pdf4
End products of stellar evolution: White dwarfs; neutron stars, black holes; degeneracy; ultra-dense matter.
CO, S16.1–16.4, 16.6, 16.7, Ch. 17 (basics only, like Schwarzschild radius)
Oct 27
pdf, pdf4
Including pre-midterm summary
Week 8
Oct 30
Midterm Exam
(in class)

Nov 1
Star Formation
pdf, pdf4
(simulation shown in class)
Jeans mass, observations, disk formation, binary formation.
CO, Ch. 12 (broad picture only for parts not dealt with in lecture notes)
Nov 3
Solar System Overview
pdf, pdf4
Inventory, orbital characteristics, spin, roundness; definition of a  planet; mass-radius relation; heating by the Sun.
CO, S19.1, 19.3 (temperatures only)
Week 9
Nov 6-10 PS IV available Fall break No class
Week 10
Nov 13 Giant Planets
pdf, pdf4
mass-radius relation; composition; cores; internal heat.
CO, S21.1
Nov 15
Terrestial Planets
pdf, pdf4
Vulcanism; plate tectonics; tectonics and climate; snow-ball Earth; atmospheres; divergent evolution between Earth & Venus.
CO, S19.3, Ch. 20, parts of Ch 21
Nov 17 PS IV due Student presentations Sun & stars
Week 11
Nov 20 PS V available Planet Formation
pdf, pdf4
Minimum mass solar nebula; stability criterion; ice line, planetestimal formation; giant planet & terrestrial planet formation; isotope dating results; formation of the Moon; open issues.
CO, S23.2, S22.4 (first few pages), S20.4
Nov 22
Student presentations Stellar evolution
Nov 24
Student presentations Stellar corpses
Week 12
Nov 27
Extrasolar Planets
Hot jupiters, statistics; proto-planetary nebulae, debris disks.
CO, Ch. 23
Nov 29
Student presentations Space missions/telescopes
Dec 1 PS V due Student presentations Giant (exo)planets
Week 13
Dec 4
Student presentations Terrestrial (exo)planets
Dec 6 Vote for best presentation Exoplanets (cont'd)
Puzzles, possible solutions; migration
CO, Ch. 23
Dec 7
Final review question & answer