Introduction to Astrophysics

Robert Roth
Summer 2023

Lectures: Mon. 11:40-13:20 @ S214/24
Wed. 11:40-12:30 @ S214/24
Exercises: Wed. 12:30-13:20 @ S214/24
This introductory lecture gives an overview of modern astrophysics and the underlying theoretical concepts. It covers different aspects of the physics of stars, the interstellar medium, and galaxies as well as selected questions from cosmology.

The planned program includes:

  • The Big Picture:
    Astronomy vs. Astrophysics, Objects and Scales, Messengers and Detectors
  • Astrophysical Observables:
    Distance, Temperatures, Spectra, Luminosity, Radius, Mass
  • Electromagnetic Radiation and Matter:
    Black-Body Radiation, Formation of Spectral Lines, Boltzmann and Saha Equations, Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
  • Stellar Atmospheres:
    Radiation Field, Stellar Opacity, Transfer Equation
  • The Sun:
    Solar Interior, Solar Atmosphere, Solar Cycle
  • Stellar Interiors:
    Hydrostatic Equilibrium, Equation of State, Stellar Energy Sources, Energy Transport, Stellar Model Building
  • Stellar Evolution:
    Main Sequence and Evolution, Late Stages of Stellar Evolution, Evolution of Massive Stars, Supernovae
  • Stellar Remnants:
    White Dwarfs, Degenerate Matter, Neutron Stars, Pulsars, Black Holes
  • Interstellar Medium and Star Formation:
    Components of the Interstellar Medium, Cloud Collapse and Star Formation
  • Galaxies:
    The Milky Way Galaxy, Nature of Galaxies, Galactic Evolution
  • Universe at Larger Scales:
    Olbers' Paradox, Extragalactic Distance Scales, Hubble's Law
  • Big-Bang Cosmology:
    Newtonian Cosmology, Microwave Background, Early Universe
In the course of the lecture all materials -- such as lecture videos, summary slides, exercise sheets and project descriptions -- will be provided for download. To access these materials you will need the password announced in the lecture.