Astrophysics I

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 8.901 (Spring 2006)
Course Title: Astrophysics I
Course Level: Undergraduate / Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Department: Physics
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Deepto Chakrabarty
Course Introduction:
Syllabus Help support MIT OpenCourseWare by shopping at! MIT OpenCourseWare offers direct links to to purchase the books cited in this course. Click on the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book from, and MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of all purchases you make. Your support will enable MIT to continue offering open access to MIT courses.Course Description

This course addresses a range of topics, including:

Size and Time ScalesHistorical AstronomyAstronomical InstrumentationStarsSpectraClassificationStellar Structure Equations and Survey of Stellar EvolutionStellar OscillationsDegenerate and Collapsed StarsRadio PulsarsInteracting Binary SystemsAccretion DisksX-ray SourcesGravitational LensesDark MatterInterstellar MediumHII RegionsSupernova RemnantsMolecular CloudsDustRadiative TransferJeans' MassStar FormationHigh-energy AstrophysicsCompton ScatteringBremsstrahlungSynchrotron RadiationCosmic RaysGalactic Stellar Distributions and PopulationsOort ConstantsOort LimitGlobular ClustersTextbooks

Hansen, Carl J., Steven D. Kawaler, and Virginia Trimble. Stellar Interiors: Physical Principles, Structure and Evolution. New York, NY: Springer, 2004. ISBN: 9780387200897.

Carroll, Bradley W., and Dale A. Ostlie. An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1995. ISBN: 9780201547306.

Kippenhahn, Rudolf, and Alfred Weigert. Stellar Structure and Evolution. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1990. ISBN: 9780387502113.

Shapiro, Stuart L., and Saul A. Teukolsky. Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Neutron Stars. New York, NY: Wiley, 1983. ISBN: 9780471873167.


Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (8.044), Quantum Mechanics II (8.05), or permission of the instructor.

Grading PolicyGrading criterion.ACTIVITIESPERCENTAGESProblem Sets30%Midterm Exam30%Final Exam40%