Astrophysics: Decoding the Cosmos is an accessibleintroduction to the key principles and theories underlyingastrophysics.
This text takes a close look at the radiation and particles thatwe receive from astronomical objects, providing a thoroughunderstanding of what this tells us, drawing the informationtogether using examples to illustrate the process of astrophysics.Chapters dedicated to objects showing complex processes are writtenin an accessible manner and pull relevant background informationtogether to put the subject firmly into context.
The intention of the author is that the book will be a‘tool chest’ for undergraduate astronomers wanting toknow the how of astrophysics. Students will gain a thoroughgrasp of the key principles, ensuring that this often-difficultsubject becomes more accessible.
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About the Author
Dr Judith Ann Irwin, Department of Physics, Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario, Canada
Table of Contents
Appendix: dimensions, units and equations.
PART I THE SIGNAL OBSERVED.
1 Defining the signal.
1.1 The power of light - luminosity and spectral power.
1.2 Light through a surface - flux and flux density.
1.3 The brightness of light - intensity and specificintensity.
1.4 Light from all angles - energy density and meanintensity.
1.5 How light pushes - radiation pressure.
1.6 The human perception of light - magnitudes.
1.7 Light aligned - polarization.
2 Measuring the signal.
2.1 Spectral filters and the panchromatic universe.
2.2 Catching the signal – the telescope.
2.3 The Corrupted signal – the atmosphere.
2.4 Processing the signal.
2.5 Analysing the signal.
2.6 Visualizing the signal.
Appendix: refraction in the Earth’s atmosphere.
PART II MATTER AND RADIATION ESSENTIALS.
3 Matter essentials.
3.1 The Big Bang.
3.2 Dark and light matter.
3.3 Abundances of the elements.
3.4 The gaseous universe.
3.5 The dusty Universe.
3.6 Cosmic rays.
Appendix: the electron/proton ratio in cosmic rays.
4 Radiation essentials.
4.1 Black body radiation.
4.2 Grey bodies and planetary temperatures.
Appendix: derivation of the Planck function.
4.A.1 The statistical weight.
4.A.2 The mean energy per state.
4.A.3 The specific energy density and specific intensity.
PART III THE SIGNAL PERTURBED.
5 The interaction of light with matter.
5.1 The photon redirected – scattering.
5.2 The photon lost – absorption.
5.3 The wavefront redirected – refraction.
5.4 Quantifying opacity and transparency.
5.5 The opacity of dust – extinction.
6 The signal transferred.
6.1 Types of energy transfer.
6.2 The equation of transfer.
6.3 Solutions to the equation of transfer.
6.4 Implications of the LTE solution.
7 The interaction of light with space.
7.1 Space and time.
7.2 Redshifts and blueshifts.
7.3 Gravitational refraction.
7.4 Time variability and source size.
PART IV THE SIGNAL EMITTED.
8 Continuum emission.
8.1 Characteristics of continuum emission – thermal andnon-thermal.
8.2 Bremsstrahlung (free–free) emission.
8.3 Free–bound (recombination) emission.
8.4 Two-photon emission.
8.5 Synchrotron (and cyclotron) radiation.
8.5.4 Synchrotron sources – spurs, bubbles, jets, lobesand relics.
8.6 Inverse Compton radiation.
9 Line emission.
9.1 The richness of the spectrum – radio waves to gammarays.
9.2 The line strengths, thermalization, and the critical gasdensity.
9.3 Line broadening.
9.4 Probing physical conditions via electronic transitions.
9.5 Probing physical conditions via molecular transitions.
PART V THE SIGNAL DECODED.
10 Forensic astronomy.
10.1 Complex spectra.
10.2 Case studies – the active, the young, and theold.
10.3 The messenger and the message.
Appendix A: Mathematical and geometrical relations.
A.1 Taylor series.
A.2 Binomial expansion.
A.3 Exponential expansion.
A.5 Properties of the ellipse.
Appendix B: Astronomical geometry.
B.1 One-dimensional and two-dimensional angles.
B.2 Solid angle and the spherical coordinate system.
Appendix C: The hydrogen atom.
C.1 The hydrogen spectrum and principal quantum number.
C.2 Quantum numbers, degeneracy, and statistical weight.
C.3 Fine structure and the Zeeman effect.
C.4 The l 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen.
Appendix D: Scattering processes.
D.1 Elastic, or coherent scattering.
D.1.1 Scattering from free electrons – Thomsonscattering.
D.1.2 Scattering from bound electrons I: the oscillatormodel.
D.1.3 Scattering from bound electrons II: quantum mechanics.
D.1.4 Scattering from bound electrons III: resonance scatteringand the natural line shape.
D.1.5 Scattering from bound electrons IV: Rayleighscattering.
D.2 Inelastic scattering – Compton scattering from freeelectrons.
D.3 Scattering by dust.
Appendix E: Plasmas, the plasma frequency, and plasmawaves.
Appendix F: The Hubble relation and the expandingUniverse.
F.1 Kinematics of the Universe.
F.2 Dynamics of the Universe.
F.3 Kinematics, dynamics and high redshifts.
Appendix G: Tables and Figures.
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