Cambridge University - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

Cambridge University - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

Cambridge University - Fundamentals of Astrophysics

17 990 Ft

This concise textbook, designed specifically for a one-semester course in astrophysics, introduces astrophysical concepts to undergraduate science and engineering students with a background in college-level, calculus-based physics.


The text is organized into five parts covering: stellar properties; stellar structure and evolution; the interstellar medium and star/planet formation; the Milky Way and other galaxies; and cosmology. Structured around short easily digestible chapters, instructors have flexibility to adjust their course's emphasis as it suits them.


Exposition drawn from the author's decade of teaching his course guides students toward a basic but quantitative understanding, with 'quick questions' to spur practice in basic computations, together with more challenging multi-part exercises at the end of each chapter.


Advanced concepts like the quantum nature of energy and radiation are developed as needed. The text's approach and level bridge the wide gap between introductory astronomy texts for non-science majors and advanced undergraduate texts for astrophysics majors.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Astronomical Distances
  • Stellar Luminosity
  • Surface Temperature from a Star's Color
  • Stellar Radius from Luminosity and Temperature
  • Composition and Ionization from Stellar Spectra
  • Surface Gravity and Escape/Orbital Speed
  • Stellar Ages and Lifetimes
  • Stellar Space Velocities
  • Using Binary Systems to Determine Masses and Radii
  • Stellar Rotation
  • Light Intensity and Absorption
  • Observational Methods
  • Our Sun
  • Hydrostatic Balance between Pressure and Gravity
  • Transport of Radiation from Interior to Surface
  • Structure of Radiative vs. Convective Stellar Envelopes
  • Hydrogen Fusion and the Mass Range of Stars
  • Post-Main-Sequence Evolution: Low-Mass Stars
  • Post-Main-Sequence Evolution: High-Mass Stars
  • The Interstellar Medium (ISM)
  • Star Formation
  • Origin of Planetary Systems
  • Water Planet Earth
  • Extra-Solar Planets
  • Our Milky Way Galaxy
  • External Galaxies
  • Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) and Quasars
  • Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Formation and Evolution
  • Newtonian Dynamical Model of Universe Expansion
  • Accelerating Universe with a Cosmological Constant
  • The Hot Big Bang
  • Eras in the Evolution of the Universe


The author Stan Owocki is a professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware, following positions at Harvard and U.C. San Diego.


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