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ASTRONOMY 157 – Stars and Galaxies - Syllabus
John Perry
658-2275 (daytime); [email protected]
Office hours: 1-2:15 Tue and Th, Cook 514
We will derive details only mentioned in Astr 005 with algebra and basic geometry,
appropriate for non-science majors. Most class slides will be posted on UVM Blackboard.
Prerequisite: Astronomy 005; Math 10
Brief Course Outline:
# classes
Course Introduction; overview of stars with brief student presentations
Observing limits: effects of Rayleigh criterion and atmospheric
turbulence on adaptive optics; geometric parallax; mass
calculation, Cepheid distances and exoplanet detection
Sun: sunspots, magnetic cycle, superflares, coronal holes
Molecular clouds and the Jeans mass limit for collapse;
Fragmentation; protostar observation limitations
Early collapse stages: expanding photosphere; stellar modeling
equations; effects of rotation, mag. Fields, collisions etc.
Nuclear fusion cycles, total energy production, star lifetime
estimation; photon random walk calculation
Core collapse, H shell burning, expansion to red giant, helium
flash, heavy element production
Planetary nebulae, supernovae and gamma ray bursts
White dwarves: surface gravity, derivations of degenerate gas
pressure, radius/mass, density, mass limit and visible lifetime
Dwarf binaries, mass transfer, type 1A supernovae; dark energy
Neutron stars: derivations of radius and density;
pulsars; binary pulsars and tests of general relativity
Stellar black holes; details of Cygnus X-1; mass/radius derivation
Galactic BH’s; Milky Way and M87 core radius and mass
derivations; various arguments for BH’s
Overview of nearby galaxies and galaxy clusters; standard candles
Galaxy and cluster formation, galaxy evolution, stellar populations
Galactic mass distributions, derivation of galactic rotation curves,
comparison to observations; dark matter distribution, MACHOS
Spiral pattern and material rotations, shock formation, star birth
triggers and inter-arm travel time
Quasars; galactic BH formation; Lyman alpha forest
Recommended Text: Web references
Grade Structure:
Midterms (2) - 30% each
Final exam - 40%
Exam Format: Eight to twelve questions will be posted on Bb several weeks before each
test. Two of them will appear on the test. Each question will have five parts, two of which
are posted and 3 of which are not, but pertain to the same general subject. There is no
homework beyond preparing answers for these questions.