Detailed Outline of Graduate Program Core Curriculum
ASTR 30100. Stars
1. Introduction to Stars (Physical)
  • Hydrostatic equilibrium. Estimates for stellar pressures and temperatures.
  • Photon diffusion, scattering, and stellar luminosities.
  • Stellar timescales: nuclear, Kelvin-Helmholtz, free-fall.
  • Virial theorem and its consequences.
  • Theoretical Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Upper and lower main sequence.
2. Introduction to Stars (Observational)
  • Determinations of stellar properties: d, L, M, R, g, T_e, abundances.
  • Magnitudes and bolometric corrections; colors; spectral classification; color-magnitude diagram. Stellar populations.
3. Hydrodynamics of Self-Gravitating Fluids
  • Kinetic theory of dilute gases: Boltzmann equation.
  • Ideal hydrodynamics: Euler equation. Sound waves. Jeans instability and gravitational contraction.
  • Viscous hydrodynamics: Navier-Stokes equation.
4. Statistical Mechanics and Equations of State
  • Quantum statistics: distribution functions. Ideal gases, radiation.
  • Degenerate fermions: white dwarfs; Chandrasekhar limit. Neutron stars.
  • Ionization equilibrium: Saha equation. Debye screening.
5. Energy Transport in Stars
  • Radiative transfer; interiors vs. atmospheres.
  • Opacity: scattering and absorption processes. Rosseland mean.
  • Conduction.
  • Convection: Schwarzschild criterion. Mixing length theory. Turbulence and dissipation.
6. Nuclear Reactions in Astrophysics
  • Binding energy per nucleon. Isotopic abundances. H and He burning.
  • Cross sections. Coulomb barrier penetration. Non-resonant and resonant reactions.
  • Nuclear reaction rates: pp, CNO cycles. Advanced burning stages.
7. Stellar Models
  • Polytropes. The standard model. Convective equilibrium. Homology.
  • Numerical methods: computation of ZAMS structure.
  • The Sun: solar neutrino problem. Stellar pulsations: helioseismology.
8. Advanced Topics
  • Stellar Rotation.
  • Magnetic Fields: MHD. Stellar dynamos.

ASTR 30300. Interstellar Matter
1. Interstellar Medium
  • Cold, dense gas: 21-cm and molecular observations, optical and UV absorption lines, depletion.
  • Dust: physical properties of grains, grain growth and destruction in the ISM, grain rotation and alignment. Dust opacity and the extinction curve. Infrared emission from dust. Scattered light from dust. Dust polarization by scattering and by dichroic emission/absorption.
  • Stromgren spheres. H II regions: ionization structure with and without dust, thermal structure.
  • Two-phase ISM, energy balance, thermal stability.
  • Evaporation, expansion of SNR in three-phase ISM.
  • Cosmic rays, Fermi acceleration.
  • Cosmic dynamos.
2. Collisionless Systems
  • Relaxation time.
  • Vlasov equation. Continuity equation. Jeans equation. Oort limit.
  • Tensor and scalar virial equation. Expansion of the universe.
  • Jeans mass. Galaxy formation. Fragmentation.
3. Distribution of Stars in the Solar Neighborhood
  • Fundamental equation of stellar statistics: luminosity function, density function.
  • Density perpendicular to the plane - Oort limit.
  • Initial luminosity/mass function.
4. Stellar Kinematics/Dynamics
  • Solar motion
  • Peculiar velocities: velocity ellipsoid, high velocity stars, statistical parallax.
  • Stellar populations as summary of much of above - chemical abundances - ages of clusters.
  • Galactic rotation: optical. Oort's A and B, radio rotation curves.
  • Evidence for dark matter in our galaxy and others.
  • Perturbations from galactic rotation.
5. Perturbations from galactic rotation.
  • Morphological classifications: Hubble, Morgan.
  • Determination of Ro.
  • Spiral structure: optical, radio, reasons for disagreement, density waves.
  • Gas in the halo - high velocity clouds - Magellanic stream - infall.
  • Chemical abundance gradients in disk and halo.
  • Chemical abundances in stars and gas.
6. Galactic Structure and Evolution: Theory
  • Models such as Bahcall and Soneira.
  • Dynamical models of galactic evolution.
  • Chemodynamic models of galactic evolution.

ASTR 30400. Galaxies
1. The observed universe
  • The cosmological distance scale
  • The cosmological principle
  • The expansion of the universe, Hubble's law, the deceleration parameter, the cosmological constant
  • The large-scale distribution of matter, clustering properties
  • The age of the universe, relationship to the Hubble constant, nucleocosmochronology, stellar evolution
  • Cosmic background radiations: diffuse x-ray background, cosmic microwave background
  • Light element abundances
  • The mass density of the universe
2. The universe at high redshift
  • Quasars
  • Lyman-alpha systems
  • Early stages of galaxy evolution
3. The microwave background radiation as a probe of the early universe
  • Isotropy
  • Spectrum
  • Decoupling
  • Re-ionization
4. Relativistic homogeneous isotropic cosmologies
  • A Newtonian picture of expansion.
  • The Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric, the scale factor, co-moving coordinates
  • The Friedmann equation, the expansion rate
  • Solutions to the Friedmann equation for a radiation-dominated and matter-dominated universe: age-redshift relations, horizons.
5. Evolution of structure in the universe
  • The power spectrum and the autocorrelation function
  • The Jeans instability in an expanding universe
  • Departures from the perfect-fluid approximation: recombination, Silk damping, free streaming
  • Growth in the non-linear regime
6. Primordial nucleosynthesis

ASTR 30600. Radiation Measurements in Astrophysics
1. Radiation Theory
  • EM Waves and photons
  • Blackbody radiation
  • Atomic Interactions
2. Light and Image Formation
  • How images are formed
  • Fresnel diffraction theory
  • Near field, far field regions
  • Fraunhoffer diffraction
3. Signal Processing Theory
  • Random fields
  • Correlation functions
  • Orthonomal functions
  • Fourier functions
  • Probability theory/Bayesian statistics/Jaynes
  • Convolution and deconvolution
4. Collecting Photons
  • Basic optics
  • Aberration theory
  • Telescope design
  • Atmospheric turbulence and adaptive optics
5. Analyzing Light
  • Design of spectrographs
  • Photon detectors
  • How CCDs work
6. Photometry
  • Stellar magnitudes
  • Atmospheric absorption
  • Background radiation
7. Radio Astronomy
  • Van Cittert equation
  • Radio Interferometry

ASTR 31000. Cosmology I
1. Foundations of Cosmology
  • Introduction to metrics.
2. Robertson-Walker Metric
  • Propagation of light.
3. Dynamics of matter-dominated universe
4. Universe as a function of time and redshift
5. Universes with finite pressure
6. Observations and tests of Cosmology
7. Growth of structure
  • Formation of clusters and voids.
8. Correlation functions
  • Mass spectrum
9. Press-Schechter Theory
10. Radiation-dominated universes
11. Chemical equilibrium
  • Species freeze-out
12. Primordial nucleosynthesis
13. Recombination
14. Inflation
15. Growth of Perturbation Spectrum
16. Cosmic Microwave Background Spectrum
17. Tests of Dark Matter
18. Tests of Dark Energy