This book gives a survey of astrophysics at the advanced undergraduate level, providing a physics-centred analysis of a broad range of astronomical systems. It originates from a two-semester course sequence at Rutgers...
This book gives a survey of astrophysics at the advanced undergraduate level, providing a physics-centred analysis of a broad range of astronomical systems. It originates from a two-semester course sequence at Rutgers University that is meant to appeal not only to astrophysics students but also more broadly to physics and engineering students. The organisation is driven more by physics than by astronomy; in other words, topics are first developed in physics and then applied to astronomical systems that can be investigated, rather than the other way around.
The first half of the book focuses on gravity. The theme in this part of the book, as well as throughout astrophysics, is using motion to investigate mass. The goal of Chapters 2-11 is to develop a progressively richer understanding of gravity as it applies to objects ranging from planets and moons to galaxies and the universe as a whole. The second half uses other aspects of physics to address one of the big questions. While “Why are we here?” lies beyond the realm of physics, a closely related question is within our reach: “How did we get here?” The goal of Chapters 12-20 is to understand the physics behind the remarkable story of how the Universe, Earth and life were formed. This book assumes familiarity with vector calculus and introductory physics (mechanics, electromagnetism, gas physics and atomic physics); however, all of the physics topics are reviewed as they come up (and vital aspects of vector calculus are reviewed in the Appendix).Show Less
Provides a physics-centered analysis of a broad range of astronomical systems that appeals to a large audience of advanced undergraduate students in physics and engineering
Illustrates estimation techniques that professional physicists and astronomers use in their research
Emerges from lecture notes that have been used for nine years by three professors, all of whom have received Outstanding Teacher Awards from the Rutgers Society of Physics Students while teaching the course
Introduction: Tools of the Trade
Part I: Using Gravity and Motion to Measure Mass
Gravitational One-Body Problem
Gravitational Two-Body Problem
Gravitational Three-Body Problem
Extended Mass Distributions: Spiral Galaxies.- N-Body Problem: Elliptical Galaxies
Bending of Light by Gravity
Cosmology: Expanding Universe
Part II: Using Stellar Physics to Explore the Cosmos
Stellar Atmospheres.- Nuclear Fusion
Stellar Structure and Evolution
Charting the Universe with Stars
Star and Planet Formation
Cosmology: Early Universe.- Part III: Appendices
Appendix A: Technical Background
Appendix B: Solutions.
From the book reviews:“The book is divided into two parts, each part corresponding to a one semester course. … This book is an excellent introduction to astrophysics. It can be used as a text for courses on the subject. Problems are included at the end of each chapter with solutions in the back. Also, each chapter ends with a list of references for further study.” (Stephen Wollman, zbMATH, Vol. 1302, 2015)