By Arnab Rai Choudhuri

ISBN-10: 0521815533

ISBN-13: 9780521815536

Designed for educating astrophysics to physics scholars at complicated undergraduate or starting graduate point, this textbook additionally presents an outline of astrophysics for astrophysics graduate scholars, earlier than they delve into extra really expert volumes. Assuming historical past wisdom on the point of a physics significant, the textbook develops astrophysics from the fundamentals with out requiring any prior examine in astronomy or astrophysics. actual techniques, mathematical derivations and observational information are mixed in a balanced approach to offer a unified remedy. themes comparable to common relativity and plasma physics, which aren't frequently lined in physics classes yet used broadly in astrophysics, are built from first ideas. whereas the emphasis is on constructing the basics completely, fresh very important discoveries are highlighted at each degree.

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Are there situations in astrophysics where general relativity is essential? 11) to calculate the radius to which the solar mass has to be shrunk such that light emitted at its surface gets trapped. 95 km. As we shall discuss in more detail in Chapters 4–5, when the energy source of a star is exhausted, the star can collapse to very compact configurations like neutron stars or black holes. General relativity is needed to study such objects. 11) becomes 12 Introduction f = 8π Gr 2 ρ . 12) We note that f is large when either ρ is large or r is large (for given ρ).

Its inverse αν−1 gives the distance over which a significant part of a beam of radiation would get absorbed by matter. Often this distance αν−1 is referred to as the mean free path of photons, since this is the typical distance a photon is expected to traverse freely before interacting with an atom. The smaller the value of αν−1 , the more efficient is the interaction between matter and radiation. If αν−1 is sufficiently small such that the temperature can be taken as constant over such distances, then we expect Planck’s law of blackbody radiation to hold.

This is definitely not the case. Since air is virtually transparent to visible light, the photons do not interact with air molecules at all. The photons in the beam of sunlight have come directly from the surface of the Sun and have not interacted with matter at all after they left the solar surface. If we analyse the spectrum of sunlight, then we find that it is not like a blackbody spectrum at room temperature, but the shape of the spectrum is rather like a blackbody spectrum at a temperature of 6000 K (the surface temperature of the Sun), although the energy density in sunlight is obviously much less than the energy density in blackbody radiation at 6000 K.

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Astrophysics for Physicists by Arnab Rai Choudhuri


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