Prof. G. Bono
(S1, compulsory, 6 ECTS)
Learning OutcomesThe course is aimed at providing an advanced preparation on Physics, with a detailed knowledge of the key topics in the modern research in Astrophysics. The learning outcomes rely on a detailed knowledge of the basic physics for the formation and evolution of structures ranging from planets (solar system, extrasolar planets) to stars (atmospheres, interiors). This knowledge is fundamental to understand the early formation and evolution of the Milky Way together with the chemical enrichment history of its stellar content. The students will also be introduced to the physical mechanisms driving the formation of gas-poor and gas-rich stellar systems and to the role that the environment plays in their evolution. Moreover, they will also learn the basics of observational cosmology together with the very early Universe and the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. These concepts are a stepping stone not only for the students interested in understanding the local Universe, but also for those interested in the large scale structure of the Universe, in cosmological models and in the very early evolution of the Universe.
Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the semester, the students will acquire detailed knowledge on a broad range of astrophysical phenomena. Formation and evolution of rocky and giant planets, physics of stellar atmospheres (radiative transfer, spectroscopy, chemical abundances) and stellar interiors (opacity, equation of state, nuclear reactions). Moreover, the students will acquire solid knowledge on the nature of galaxies (spirals, irregulars, ellipticals) together with their formation and evolution and on the environmental effects. They will also have a detailed knowledge of the cosmic distance scale (primary/secondary distance indicators) and of the empirical evidence for the expansion of the Universe together with the basics of modern observational cosmoclogy (Cosmic microwave background, Sunyaev Zeldovich effect) and the very early Universe (Big Bang nucleosynthesis). This knowledge will allow the students to fully understand how cosmic structures either isolated or belonging to a group or to a galaxy cluster formed and evolved with time. The students will also take advantage of different astrophysical techniques to estimate planet and stellar physical parameters, age and metallicity distribution together the empirical and theoretical approaches for constraining structural parameters of nearby stellar systems.
Applying Knowledge and UnderstandingThe students will take an oral exam aimed at verifying the knowledge of modern astrophysics.
PrerequisitesBasic physics.
Program1 Introduction 1.1 Stellar parallaxes and astrometry 1.2 Magnitude scales and color indices 1.3 Emission and absorption lines 1.4 Cosmic abundances and solar mixture 2 Solar System and Extrasolar planets 2.1 Terrestrial and Giant planets 2.2 Minor bodies of the solar system 2.3 Identification and characterization of extrasolar planets 2.4 Planetary system formation and evolution 3 Stellar Atmospheres 3.1 Spectral classification and Hertzsprung Russell diagram 3.2 Equation of state 3.3 Stellar opacities 3.4 Radiative transfer 4 Stellar interiors 4.1 Momentum and mass conservation equations 4.2 Energy conservation equation 4.3 Energy transport equations 4.4 The sun as a star 4.5 Main sequence and post main sequence evolution 4.6 Stellar pulsation 4.7 Compact objects: white dwarfs and neutron stars 5 The Milky Way 5.1 Stellar populations 5.2 Stellar systems 5.3 Galactic spheroid: Halo, Bulge, Disk 5.4 Galactic center 6 The Nature of Galaxies 6.1 Hubble sequence 6.2 Spirals, irregulars and ellipticals 6.3 Dwarf galaxies 6.4 Formation and interaction of galaxies 6.5 Cluster of galaxies 6.6 The extragalactic distance scale 6.7 The expansion of the Universe 7 Cosmology 7.1 Newtonian cosmology 7.2 The cosmic microwave background 7.3 The Sunyaev Zeldovich effect 7.4 Observational cosmology 7.5 The very early Universe 7.6 Big Bang nucleosynthesis 7.7 Origin of structures
Description of how the course is conductedSee next point
Description of the didactic methodsThe modules of the course rely on frontal teaching. To help the students in understanding the basic physics driving the formation and evolution of these systems, the course is entirely given to the blackboard, i.e. without the support of powerpoint presentations. Students are requested to attend the lectures.
Description of the evaluation methodsAn oral exam aimed to verify the knowledge that the students accomplished during the semester in extrasolar planets, in stellar astrophysics, Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics and in observational cosmology.
Adopted TextbooksAn Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, B.W. Carroll, D.A. Ostlie, Addison Wesley
Recommended readings