Principles of Astrophysics: Using Gravity and Stellar Physics to Explore the Cosmos

Principles of Astrophysics: Using Gravity and Stellar Physics to Explore the Cosmos


Provides a physics-centered analysis of a broad range of astronomical systems that appeals to a large audience of advanced undergraduate students in physics and engineering

This book gives a survey of astrophysics at the advanced undergraduate level. It originates from a two-semester course sequence at Rutgers University that is meant to appeal not only to astrophysics students but also more broadly to physics and engineering students. The organization is driven more by physics than by astronomy; in other words, topics are first developed in physics and then applied to astronomical systems that can be investigated, rather than the other way around.

The first half of the book focuses on gravity. Gravity is the dominant force in many astronomical systems, so a tremendous amount can be learned by studying gravity, motion and mass. The theme in this part of the book, as well as throughout astrophysics, is using motion to investigate mass. The goal of Chapters 2-11 is to develop a progressively richer understanding of gravity as it applies to objects ranging from planets and moons to galaxies and the universe as a whole. The second half uses other aspects of physics to address one of the big questions. While Why are we here? lies beyond the realm of physics, a closely related question is within our reach: How did we get here? The goal of Chapters 12-20 is to understand the physics behind the remarkable story of how the Universe, Earth and life were formed. This book assumes familiarity with vector calculus and introductory physics (mechanics, electromagnetism, gas physics and atomic physics); however, all of the physics topics are reviewed as they come up (and vital aspects of vector calculus are reviewed in the Appendix).

Table of contents

Front Matter....Pages i-xxi
Introduction: Tools of the Trade....Pages 1-17
Front Matter....Pages 19-19
Celestial Mechanics....Pages 21-34
Gravitational One-Body Problem....Pages 35-51
Gravitational Two-Body Problem....Pages 53-78
Tidal Forces....Pages 79-88
Gravitational Three-Body Problem....Pages 89-98
Extended Mass Distributions: Spiral Galaxies....Pages 99-126
N-Body Problem: Elliptical Galaxies....Pages 127-142
Bending of Light by Gravity....Pages 143-175
Relativity....Pages 177-219
Cosmology: Expanding Universe....Pages 221-239
Front Matter....Pages 241-241
Planetary Atmospheres....Pages 243-261
Planetary Temperatures....Pages 263-283
Stellar Atmospheres....Pages 285-297
Nuclear Fusion....Pages 299-324
Stellar Structure and Evolution....Pages 325-350
Stellar Remnants....Pages 351-364
Charting the Universe with Stars....Pages 365-376
Star and Planet Formation....Pages 377-394
Cosmology: Early Universe....Pages 395-410
Back Matter....Pages 411-434


  • Author: Charles Keeton (auth.)
  • Edition: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York
  • ISBN-13: 9781461492351, 9781461492368
  • Pages: 444
  • Format: pdf
  • Size: 8.9M
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