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
pdf, pdf4
Detection methods, statistics.
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)
pdf, pdf4
Proto-planetary & debris disks; puzzles, possible solutions; migration
CO, Ch. 23
Dec 7
Final review
pdf, pdf4
question & answer