Course outline: This course presents an introduction to the theoretical aspects of modern astrophysics. The key objective is to illustrate the application of physical laws in an astronomical context and to explain how we know what we do about the universe and its constituents. Subject matter broached includes: Celestial mechanics; radiation laws; blackbody radiation, Planck function and approximations; magnitudes; the hydrogen atom; stellar spectroscopy; stellar evolution and remnants; special relativity; the Earth-Moon system; the Solar system; extrasolar planets; stellar motions; the Milky Way and other galaxies; the extragalactic distance scale; large scale structure; Newtonian cosmology.
Course co-ordinator :Prof Patrick Woudt, Room 539.1 in the RW James Building. Phone: 021 650 2392 (o)
Lectures: Five lectures per week in term 1 of semester 1 and five lectures per week in term 1 of semester 2. Room: TBD
Course textbook: To be advised.
Tutorials: Ten compulsory tutorial/practical sessions over the year, Wednesday, 14h00 - 17h00.
Practicals: One virtual observatory project, by arrangement; one essay and one presentation. One field trip to the South African Astronomical Observatory, Sutherland.
DP requirement: Satisfactory attendance at lectures and tutorials/practicals. Class record of at least 35%.
Assessment: Two class tests count 25%; 10 compulsory tutorials/practicals including a virtual observatory project, an essay and a presentation count 25%. One 2-hour final examination in November counts for 50%; subminimum requirement of 40% for final examination.