Elements of Astrophysics

course ID





14 Weeks

Semester DD


Course details

Gravitational and electromagnetic forces. Virial Theorem. Gravity balanced by pressure inside stars: normal stars, production of thermonuclear energy; white dwarfs and neutron stars; degeneracy pressure. Winning gravity: gravitational collapse, stellar black holes, massive black holes in quasars and active galactic nuclei. Gravity at cosmic scales: the Big Bang. Dark matter and gravity in galaxies. Disc and elliptical galaxies; dwarf galaxies. Rotation curves, velocity dispersion, dark matter.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Base concepts on the observational channels in the Universe, and on the astrophysical sources of electromagnetic radiation. Elementary notions on the role of the gravitational force in main systems of astrophysical and cosmological interest: normal and collapsed stars, stellar and supermassive black holes, quasars and active galactic nuclei, expansion of the Universe and Big Bang.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: - Base knowledge about stars, galaxies, active galactic nuclei, black holes, Universe. - Elementary knowledge on the role of gravity in such systems. - Elementary knowledge on the propagation of electromagnetic waves in an expanding Universe.

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: - To be able to estimate the main physical characteristic quantities of sources, masses, sizes, distances, luminosities, by the use of the appropriate physical relations.

MAKING JUDGEMENTS: - To be able to assess the reliability of a numerical result by comparing with the standard properties of the examined systems.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: - To be able to present an elementary topic of astrophysics. - To have a knowledge of the English language sufficient to read and understand correctly a scientific text of astrophysics.