AST142 -- Elementary Astrophysics

Spring 2012

This course will provide an introduction to fundamental principles and concepts in astrophysics, intended for students majoring in in physics and/or astronomy or for students with comparable physics and mathematics prequequsities.

Class Hours: Tues and Thurs 11:05-12:20 B&L 407

Prof:     Eric Blackman, Bausch &Lomb 417,

     Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-2pm

TIs:     Alexandra Kuznetsov (;

     Office Hours: Thursdays 2:00pm to 4:30pm and Fridays from 1:30pm to 3:15pm in Room B&L 203H

TIs:     Ruka Murugan (  

     Office Hours: Mondays 11-noon; Fridays 1-2pm; or by appt. in Room B&L 203H

Office Hours:


The required course textbook is: "Foundations of Astrophysics" by Barbara Ryden \& Bradley Peterson

Another book of interest, also on reserve in PoA Library:

"An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics" (Carroll and Ostlie)



The syllabus and order of topics to be covered is below: (Subject to adjustments as course proceeds.)

Early Astronomy and Basic Orbital Mechanics

Chapter 1

Chapter 2: sections 2.5, 2.6

Chapter 3: sections 3.3, 3.4

Radiation and its Interaction With Matter and Detection of Radiation

Chapter 5

Chapter 6


Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 17

Chapter 18



(1) Approximately 8 problem sets (each counted equally and together a total of 25% of final grade)

(2) Two in-classroom exams (each are 37.5% of final grade) March 8th, May 1st


Problem Sets:

All Homework to be turned into the course locker next to Room B&L 104 by 6pm on the due date shown