M.Sc. (Physics) Optional Papers in A & A - Sample Syllabus

Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune
These are sample syllabi for three special/optional papers in M.Sc. (Physics). Any two papers may be adopted.

ASTRONOMY and ASTROPHYSICS, Special Paper I

Module I: Solar System and Stars

1. The solar system 5 lectures
   
  Celestial mechanics
Elliptical orbits
Kepler's laws
Virial theorem
2
     
  Earth-moon system
Tidal forces
Precession of earth's axis
Interiors
Atmospheres
2
     
  Planets
Terrestrial planets
Jovian planets
1
   
2. Observational tools 6 lectures
     
  Blackbody radiation
Specific intensity and flux density
1
  Stellar parallax
Magnitudes
Colour index
1
  Basic optics and optical telescopes 1
  Radio telescopes 1
  Infrared, ultraviolet and  
  X-ray telescopes 1
  Coordinates and time 1
     
3. Sta 7 lectures
     
  Classification
Formation of spectral lines
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
2
  Atmosphere
Description of the radiation field
Opacities
Radiative transfer
Structure of spectral lines
5
     
4. Sun 5 lectures
     
  Interior
Atmosphere
Solar activity
Helioseismology
 

 

Module II: Stellar Structure and Evolution

1. Stellar interiors 7 lectures
     
  Hydrostatic equilibrium
Pressure equation of state
Energy sources
Energy transport and convection
Model building
Main sequence
 
     
2. Binary stars 5 lectures
     
  Classification
Mass determination
Accretion disks in close binaries
White dwarfs, neutron stars
and black holes in binaries
 
     
3. Star formation 3 lectures
     
  Interstellar dust and gas
Formation of protostars
Pre-main sequence evolution
 
     
4. Post main sequence evolution 3 lectures
     
 

Evolution on the main sequence
Late stages of evolution
Fate of massive stars, supernovae

 
     
5. Degenerate remnants of stars 4 lectures
     
  White dwarfs
Chandrasekhar limit
Neutron stars
Pulsars
 

Tutorials will involve problem solving on the topics of the course.

Laboratory Experiments:

1. Polar aligning a telescope and measuring declination of Polaris.
2. Measuring distance to Moon by parallax method.
3. Measuring limb-darkening of Sun.
4. Finding rotation period of Sun by measuring motion of sun-spots.
5. Measuring relative sensitivity of B, V, and R bands of a photometer with Sun and using this to find temperature of filament of a lamp.
6. Measuring colour of a star by differential photometry.
7. Measuring extinction of the atmosphere in B, V, and R bands.
8. Characterising a CCD camera for gain, read-noise, linearity, and flat field.
9. Estimating atmospheric seeing by measuring differential motion.
10. Measuring stellar scintillations for different zenith angles and comparing it with scintillations for planets.

Text books:

1. Modern Astrophysics, B. W. Carroll and D. A. Ostlie, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
2. Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics, M. Zeilik and S. A. Gregory, 4th Edition, Saunders College Publishing.
3. Theoretical Astrophysics, Vol II:Stars and Stellar Systems, T. Padmanabhan, Cambridge University Press.

Other books:

1. The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, F. Shu, Mill Valley : University Science Books.
2. Textbook of Astronomy and Astrophysics with Elements of Cosmology, V. B. Bhatia, Pb-New Delhi, Narosa Publishing House.
3. The New Cosmos, A. Unsold and B. Baschek, New York:Springer Verlag.

 

ASTRONOMY and ASTROPHYSICS, Special Paper II

Module I : High Energy Astrophysics

1. Radiative processes in astrophysics 10 lectures
     
  Synchrotron emission
   - for a single particle
   - for an ensemble of electrons
Energy loss and electron spectrum
Compton scattering
Multiple Compton scattering
Bremstrahlung
Thermal bremstrahlung
 
     
2. Binary stars 7 lectures
     
  White dwarf binaries
Neutron star and black hole binaries
HulseTaylor binary pulsar
 
     
3. Accretion discs 5 lectures
     
  Thin accretion discs
Thick accretion discs
Accretion discs in binaries
Accretion discs in galactic nuclei
 
     

 

Module II: Galaxies

1. The Milky Way Galaxy 5 lectures
     
  Distribution of stars
Morphology
Kinematics
Interstellar medium
Galactic Centre
 
     
2. Nature of galaxies 4 lectures
     
  Hubble sequence
Spirals and irregular galaxies
Spiral structure
Elliptical galaxies
 
     
3. Galactic evolution 4 lectures
     
  Interaction of galaxies
Formation of galaxies
 
     
4. Structure of the universe 5 lectures
     
  Extragalactic distance scale
Expansion of the universe
Clusters of galaxies
 
     
5. Active galaxies and quasi-stellar objects 5 lectures
     
  Observations
Unified model
Radio lobes and jets
Using QSOs to probe the universe
Gamma ray bursts
 
     


Tutorials will involve problem solving on the topics of the course.

Text books:

1. Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei, A. K. Kembhavi and J. V. Narlikar, Cambridge University Press.
2. Modern Astrophysics, B. W. Carroll and D. A. Ostlie, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
3. Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics, M. Zeilik and S. A. Gregory, 4th edition, Saunders College Publishing.
4. Theoretical Astrophysics, Vol I:Astrophysical Processes, T. Padmanabhan, Cambridge University Press.

Other books:

1. The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, F. Shu, Mill Valley : University Science Books.
2. Textbook of Astronomy and Astrophysics with Elements of Cosmology, V. B. Bhatia, Pb-New Delhi, Narosa Publishing House.
3. The New Cosmos, A. Unsold and B. Baschek, New York:Springer Verlag.
4. Introduction to Cosmology, J. V. Narlikar, 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press.
5. Structure Formation in the Universe, T. Padmanabhan,Cambridge University Press.

 

ASTRONOMY and ASTROPHYSICS, Special Paper III

Module I: General Relativity (GR)

1. Overview of special relativity 4 lectures
     
  Principles of special relativity
Line interval
Proper time
Lorentz transformation
Minkowski spacetime
Lightcones
Relativistic momentum
4-vectors
Lorentz transformation of electromagnetic field
 
     
2. Conceptual foundations of GR and curved spacetime 12 lectures
     
  Principle of equivalence
Connection between gravity and geometry
Form of metric in Newtonian limit
Metric tensor and its properties
Concept of curved spaces and spacetimes
Tangent space and four vectors
Tensor algebra
Tensor calculus
Covariant differentiation
Parallel transport
Riemann curvature tensor
Geodesics
Particle trajectories in gravitational field
 
     
3. Dynamics of gravitational field 4 lectures
     
  Einstein's field equations
Definition of the stress tensor
Bianchi identities and conservation of the stress tensor
Einstein's equations for weak gravitational fields
The Newtonian limit
 
     
4. Schwarzschild metric and related topics 5 lectures
     
  Derivation of Schwarzschild metric
Basic properties of Schwarzschild metric coordinate-
systems and nature of R=2M surface
Effective potential for particle orbits in Schwarzschild metric,
general properties
Precession of perihelion
Deflection of ultra relativistic particles
Gravitational red-shift
 
     


Module II: Applications of GR

1. Gravitational waves 5 lectures
     
  Wave equation in linearised theory
Plane waves
Transverse traceless gauge
Effect on test particles
Principles of detection and generation of gravitational waves
Types of detectors
Landau-Lifshitz formula
Hulse Taylor binary pulsar
 
     
     
2. Cosmology - 15 lectures
  Models of the universe 5
 

Friedmann-Robertson-Walker models
Hubble's law
Angular size
Source counts
Cosmological constant
Horizons

 
     
  Relics of the big bang 3
 

The early universe
Thermodynamics of the early universe
Primordial neutrinos
Helium synthesis and other nuclei
Microwave background

 
     
  Formation of large scale structure 3
 

Jeans mass in the expanding universe
Growth in the postrecombination era
Observational constraints
Elementary ideas on structure formation

 
     
  Observations of the cosmological significance 4
 

Measurement of Hubble's constant
Anisotropy of large-scale velocity fields
Age of the universe
Abundance of light nuclei
Dark matter
Microwave background
Gravitational wave stochastic background.

 
     

Tutorials will involve problem solving on the topics of the course.

Text Books:

1. General Relativity and Cosmology, J. V. Narlikar Delhi: Macmillan company of India Ltd.
2. General Relativity, I. R. Kenyon, Oxford university press.
3. Classical Theory of Fields, Vol. 2, L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Oxford : Pergamon Press.
4. First course in general relativity, B. F. Schutz Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
5. Introduction to Cosmology, 3rd Edition, J. V. Narlikar, Cambridge University Press.