2 Physics course
every year, Session 2
for Session 2, 2011
Prof. Chris Tinney Weeks 1 to 6
Prof. John Webb Weeks 7 to 12
times: Wednesday 11-12 OMB G32, Thursdays 10-11 Rupert Myers Theatre.
Galaxies, the distance scale, large scale structure of the universe, galaxy
evolution, the very early universe.
course assumes familiarity with first year physics, e.g.
PHYS1002 or PHYS1221 or PHYS1231 or PHYS1241 or PHYS1022.
Goals and learning objectives
course provides a broad introduction to some of the most
fascinating concepts in modern science. In general terms,
it is hoped that the course will hone your critical thinking
skills, will lead to a better understanding of the nature
of science, and allow you to appreciate the plethora of
intriguing astrophysical objects the universe has to offer.
You will understand astronomical sizes and scales, and discover
the structure of the universe. You may well also develop
an increased interest in following up new discoveries in
astronomy, as a life-long learning activity.
is astronomy important?
a desire to understand astronomical observations of the
observed universe came our present knowledge of fundamental
subjects such as mechanics and gravity. Whilst astronomy
is probably the oldest science, the revolution it has experienced
within the last decade arguably also makes it the youngest.
New technological advances, new large ground-based telescopes
and telescopes in space, provide new views of unprecedented
precision into the furthest realms of the universe ever
reached. Whilst pure research is not usually strongly motivated
by practical spin-offs, these do sometimes occur, an example
being the development of CCD detectors. More importantly,
astronomy is fascinating in its own right, and is intimately
linked with other fundamental areas in science such as particle
physics. This helps astronomy play an invaluable role in
heightening general interest in science, and encouraging
education in other important and practical areas of science
assignments, each worth 10%
are also tutorial exercises. These are not formally assessed,
but are designed to assist in doing well with the assessed
rules regarding academic honesty, etc, see the School website here.
copies of all lecture notes are available for each student.
The course is not designed around any specific textbook.
However, several books are used:
Zeilik & S. Gregory, Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics,
Shu, The Physical Universe – an introduction to astronomy,
(University Science Books)
following are all good introductory texts on astronomy,
with excellent illustrations, but the material is covered
at a lower level than this course:
Kaufmann, R. Freedman, Universe, (Freeman)
Zeilik, The Evolving Universe, (Wiley)
Seeds, Foundations of Astronomy, (Wadsworth)
Abell, D. Morrison & S. Wolff, Exploration of the
students having difficulties should consult the lecturer
for help. Further information on student support services
may be found on the School website here.
Types, basic properties, our galaxy, spiral galaxies, active galaxies.
|The Distance Scale
Primary, secondary, tertiary distance indicators; redshifts; Hubble’s constant and its determination; review of galaxy properties; bulk motions amongst galaxies.
|Galaxies at High Redshift and Evolution
The present-day picture; look back techniques; galaxy number counts, cluster and field galaxy evolution; redshift surveys; gravitational lensing.
|Cosmology and the Early Universe
Cosmology: Models and observation; Big Bang model; Inflation and GUTs; initial perturbation spectra; galaxy formation; cosmic microwave background; QSOs; dark matter models; cold dark matter scenario.
|Texts: W. J. Kaufman, Discovering the Universe (K)
M. Zeilik, The Evolving Universe (Z)
system in Astronomy
of our Galaxy
of our Galaxy
HI spin-flip transition
curve of our Galaxy
evidence for dark matter
for dark matter
waves and star formation
quasars, BL Lacs, radio galaxies
and narrow emission line regions
Lyman alpha systems
of the expansion
constant and age of universe
to other galaxies/distance scale
methods for determining distances:
variables; globular clusters; novae; supernovae; Tully-Fisher
relationship; planetary nebulae; Dn-sigma for elliptical
galaxies; surface-brightness fluctuations for elliptical
radius and event horizon
redshift of photons
centre of our Galaxy
hole evaporation - Hawking radiation
for the big bang
microwave background radiation
element abundances/big bang nucleosynthesis
more information about PHYS2160 contact:
last updated 25th March 2013