Radiative Processes in Astrophysics / Edition 1

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Radiative Processes in Astrophysics: This clear, straightforward, and fundamental introduction is designed to present-from a physicist's point of view-radiation processes and their applications to astrophysical phenomena and space science. It covers such topics as radiative transfer theory, relativistic covariance and kinematics, bremsstrahlung radiation, synchrotron radiation, Compton scattering, some plasma effects, and radiative transitions in atoms. Discussion begins with first principles, physically motivating and deriving all results rather than merely presenting finished formulae. However, a reasonably good physics background (introductory quantum mechanics, intermediate electromagnetic theory, special relativity, and some statistical mechanics) is required. Much of this prerequisite material is provided by brief reviews, making the book a self-contained reference for workers in the field as well as the ideal text for senior or first-year graduate students of astronomy, astrophysics, and related physics courses. Radiative Processes in Astrophysics also contains about 75 problems, with solutions, illustrating applications of the material and methods for calculating results. This important and integral section emphasizes physical intuition by presenting important results that are used throughout the main text; it is here that most of the practical astrophysical applications become apparent.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471827597
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.77 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

George B. Rybicki received his B.S. degree in physics from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He is a physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lecturer in the Astronomy Department at Harvard. His research interests include stellar atmospheres, stellar dynamics and radiative transfer. Alan P. Lightman received his A.B. degree in physics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology. He was a research fellow at Cornell and then an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University from 1976-1979. He is presently at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. His research includes work in general relativity, the astrophysics of black holes, radiation mechanisms, and stellar dynamics. He is also a coauthor of Problem Book in Relativity and Gravitation (1975).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Fundamentals of Radiative Transfer

1.1 The Electromagnetic Spectrum;
Elementary Properties of Radiation

1.2 Radiative Flux

1.3 The Specific Intensity and Its Moments

1.4 Radiative Transfer

1.5 Thermal Radiation

1.6 The Einstein Coefficients

1.7 Scattering Effects;
Random Walks

1.8 Radiative Diffusion

Chapter 2

Basic Theory of Radiation Fields

2.1 Review of Maxwell's Equations

2.2 Plane Electromagnetic Waves

2.3 The Radiation Spectrum

2.4 Polarization and Stokes Parameters 62

2.5 Electromagnetic Potentials

2.6 Applicability of Transfer Theory and the Geometrical Optics Limit

Chapter 3

Radiation from Moving Charges

3.1 Retarded Potentials of Single Moving Charges: The Liénard-Wiechart Potentials

3.2 The Velocity and Radiation Fields

3.3 Radiation from Nonrelativistic Systems of Particles

3.4 Thomson Scattering (Electron Scattering)

3.5 Radiation Reaction

3.6 Radiation from Harmonically Bound Particles

Chapter 4

Relativistic Covariance and Kinematics

4.1 Review of Lorentz Transformations

4.2 Four-Vectors

4.3 Tensor Analysis

4.4 Covariance of Electromagnetic Phenomena

4.5 A Physical Understanding of Field Transformations 129

4.6 Fields of a Uniformly Moving Charge

4.7 Relativistic Mechanics and the Lorentz Four-Force

4.8 Emission from Relativistic Particles

4.9 Invariant Phase Volumes and Specific Intensity

Chapter 5


5.1 Emission from Single-Speed Electrons

5.2 Thermal Bremsstrahlung Emission

5.3 Thermal Bremsstrahlung (Free-Free) Absorption

5.4 Relativistic Bremsstrahlung

Chapter 6

Synchrotron Radiation

6.1 Total Emitted Power

6.2 Spectrum of Synchrotron Radiation: A Qualitative Discussion

6.3 Spectral Index for Power-Law Electron Distribution

6.4 Spectrum and Polarization of Synchrotron Radiation: A Detailed Discussion

6.5 Polarization of Synchrotron Radiation

6.6 Transition from Cyclotron to Synchrotron Emission

6.7 Distinction between Received and Emitted Power

6.8 Synchrotron Self-Absorption

6.9 The Impossibility of a Synchrotron Maser in Vacuum

Chapter 7

Compton Scattering

7.1 Cross Section and Energy Transfer for the Fundamental Process

7.2 Inverse Compton Power for Single Scattering

7.3 Inverse Compton Spectra for Single Scattering

7.4 Energy Transfer for Repeated Scatterings in a Finite, Thermal Medium: The Compton Y Parameter

7.5 Inverse Compton Spectra and Power for Repeated Scatterings by Relativistic Electrons of Small Optical Depth

7.6 Repeated Scatterings by Nonrelativistic Electrons: The Kompaneets Equation

7.7 Spectral Regimes for Repeated Scattering by Nonrelativistic Electrons

Chapter 8

Plasma Effects

8.1 Dispersion in Cold, Isotropic Plasma

8.2 Propagation Along a Magnetic Field;
Faraday Rotation

8.3 Plasma Effects in High-Energy Emission Processes

Chapter 9

Atomic Structure

9.1 A Review of the Schrödinger Equation

9.2 One Electron in a Central Field

9.3 Many-Electron Systems

9.4 Perturbations, Level Splittings, and Term Diagrams

9.5 Thermal Distribution of Energy Levels and Ionization

Chapter 10

Radiative Transitions

10.1 Semi-Classical Theory of Radiative Transitions

10.2 The Dipole Approximation

10.3 Einstein Coefficients and Oscillator Strengths

10.4 Selection Rules

10.5 Transition Rates

10.6 Line Broadening Mechanisms

Chapter 11

Molecular Structure

11.1 The Born-Oppenheimer Approximation: An Order of Magnitude Estimate of Energy Levels

11.2 Electronic Binding of Nuclei

11.3 Pure Rotation Spectra

11.4 Rotation-Vibration Spectra

11.5 Electronic-Rotational-Vibrational Spectra



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