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2005/06 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS1170 The Physics of Stars and Planets

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr M G Hoare
Email: m.g.hoare@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2005/06

Pre-requisite qualifications

A-Level Mathematics and Physics or equivalent

Pre-requisites

PHYS1141 & PHYS1142

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This elective module provides an introduction to the astrophysics of stars and planets. What provides the power for the Sun and other stars? How do we use telescopes to make the observations that allow us to determine the structure and life-cycle of stars? How do we detect planets around other stars? This module is for students with a Mathematics and Physics background

Objectives

By the end of the module you should be able to:
- discuss at an introductory level the nature and place of stars and planets in the Universe;
- describe how the Sun is powered, radiates and the surface activity it gives rise to;
- describe and use methods to derive basic stellar parameters from astronomical observations;
- outline the concept of stellar evolution and the end points of star's lives;
- discuss how planets are detected around other stars and compare their properties with those in our own solar system;
- derive and use basic formulae associated with the properties of stars and planets;
- use the WWW to search for information on these topics and summarize the findings.

Skills outcomes
Ability to find relevant information on world wide web.
Ability to work together in small groups.Ability to find relevant information on world wide web.
Ability to work together in small groups.


Syllabus

Telescopes: Diameter, resolution, seeing, Hubble Space Telescope, telescopes of the world.

The Sun: Surface temperature, blackbody radiation, luminosity, energy source, lifetime. Solar surface, granulation, sunspots, solar corona, solar eclipses.

Stars: Stellar parameters: brightness, magnitudes, colours, temperatures. Spectra, absorption lines, spectral types. Distances, parallax, proper motion. Cepheid variables as standard candles. Stellar masses from binary systems. The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, main sequence stars, red giants, white dwarfs. Concept of stellar evolution. End points of stars, supernovae, black holes.

Planets: Discovery of extra-solar planets and their parameters. Comparison with the planets in our own solar system, inner terrestrial planets, giant gas planets. Prospects for finding other Earth-like planets.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Lectures: 18 x 1 hour;


Exercise classes: 5 x 1 hour.

Private study

Internet research: 5 hours;
Problem sheets: 4 hours;
Reading: 68 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

8 problem sheets;
5 exercise classes.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

1 x 2 hour written exam at end of semester: 70%;
Marked exercise class work: 15%;
Marked problem sheets: 15%.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/03/2006

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