Syllabus for ASTR/PHYS 536-001 Advanced Astrophysics I

Instructor: Dinesh Loomba

This class is a 3-credit graduate course.

Meeting times: The class will meet on M,W from 9:30-10:45 in room 5 of the PandA building.

Office Hours: by appointment.

Book(s): None required but below is an (abbreviated) list of books which may be useful to you:

As you can see, there are a lot of books in Astrophysics! My initial intent was to follow a given book. It would have made everyone's life easier, however, I could not find one book that stood out. The books by Padmanabhan are the most recent and beautifully written, but highly theoretical. Other books on the list are fairly specialized to specific topics (e.g. radiative transfer). Some books on the list are quite old but are included because they are classics. I will refer to sections of books (or reviews) that form the basis of my lectures so that you may go to the source. Additionally I have access to lecture notes in Astrophysics from various colleagues at other institutions. I will reference them when I use them.


Graduate Students: A solid foundation of undergraduate Statistical Physics, Thermodynamics, E&M, Quantum Mechanics, and Mathematics.

Preliminary outline of the course:

Astrophysics I (536) will largely cover topics on the subject of stellar astrophysics. Here is an approximate list that I hope to cover in chronological order:

As noted above, this is a rough list of topics. It is also a rather long list and we may not cover all this material during the semester.

Course grading:

  1. Homeworks 50%. There will be assignments roughly every 2 weeks.
  2. Midterm ~20%
  3. Final Project 25% (A final project involving a term paper and, depending on time and number of students enrolled in the course, I may devote several lectures to short talks given by students on their final paper topic. I will discuss the project in more detail once the course begins.)
    Besides these official contributions to your grade the following will help you but not hurt you:
  4. During class I may suggest a problem for extra credit.
  5. Oftentimes questions will be raised during class-time that won't be answered to everyone's satisfaction. Students who, by whatever means, return with additional information that sheds light on the subject will be duly rewarded!
  6. Students are strongly encouraged to ask questions, express skepticism, start discussions, and in general actively participate in the course. If there is a single motto to follow in this course, it is that there are no "dumb" questions! If you don't ask, you won't learn so please don't be shy.


Handouts from lecture: Figures1

More handouts from lecture: Figures2

Homework assignments

HW1 due Monday 8/31 in class HW1solution

HW2 due Wednesday 9/9 HW2solution

HW3 due Friday 9/18 in my mailbox HW3solution

HW4 due Friday 9/25 in my mailbox

HW5 due Monday 10/26 in class

HW6 due Monday 11/16 in class