Welcome to the Astronomy 822 course! The objective of the course is to provide the student with a working knowledge of basic electromagnetic processes related to the generation, propagation and scattering of radiation in astrophysics, sufficient to understand publications and embark on current research. We will deal specially with continuous spectra. We will discuss some of the most important applications to astrophysics.
George B. Rybicki & Alan P. Lightman, Radiation Processes in Astrophysics (John Wiley, 1979).
I may also assign some readings from papers or other books during the course to complement our main textbook (which is very good in explaining the theory, but does not generally go into applications of the physical concepts to real astrophysics).
Other complementary books:
The final exam will have two parts. The first will be also short, in-class, and just like the midterm. The second part will be take-home, using books or notes, and will have problem sets similar to the ones you will do in the homework.
We will be doing the subjects listed below, essentially covering chapters 1 through 8 in the textbook. For each topic I will list the sections you should read, the homework problems that you should check you know how to solve (and consult the solutions carefully if you don't), and the date by which you should have completed this. I will write these dates as the course proceeds, allowing flexibility for the pace of the course. I may occasionally add additional reading from other books or papers. The most important thing is that we cover the material sufficiently well so that everybody understands it; we can slow down if we must even if that means that we will not have covered every topic by the end of the course.
2. Einstein coefficients.
Additional optional reading: For a good review of how astronomical masers work, see the article by M. J. Reid and J. M. Moran in chapter 6 of Verschuur and Kellermann,
3. Review of Maxwell's equations.
4. Lienard-Wiechert Potentials. Dipole approximation. Multipole Expansion.
5. Thomson scattering. Application: cosmological optical depth to electron
6. Review of relativity. Doppler effect, light aberration,
transformation of intensity.
7. Electromagnetic tensor. Field transformations. Uniformly moving charge.
8. Emission from Relativistic Particles.
9. Free-free emission. Spectra of X-ray clusters.
10. Synchrotron Radiation: Spectrum, self-absorption. The Compton catastrophe.
Check out the radio image around the M87 Galaxy observed with the
Very Large Array . A nice example of synchrotron emission from a jet.
Check out Bill Keel's page on Quasar and Active Galaxy images , for example the image of the jets and radio lobes of Cygnus A .
11. Compton scattering. Applications: the y-parameter distortion, the
Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect, Compton drag, Compton cooling.
Section 7.6 in RL.
Application to the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect: see "Principles of Physical Cosmology" (P. J. E. Peebles): pages 581-588, and 603-608; or Cosmological Physics (J. A. Peacock), pages 375-377.
Complete by 11/26
12. Plasma effects: Dispersion, Faraday rotation.
Astronomy 822 Autumn Quarter 2002
TR 1:30-3:00pm McPherson Room 4045
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