Astrophysics courses are offered in the third year of the Bachelor’s degree by LAM professors for students from Aix-Marseille University.
This is a transversal course in fundamental physics through modern astrophysical problems. Each chapter of the course, accompanied by a tutorial session and often also a practical session, is built around an astrophysical environment (stars, exoplanets, galaxies, cosmology).
In order to pose, understand and describe the astrophysical mechanisms at play, various fields of physics are called upon (electromagnetism/radiation/optics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics/spectral analysis, classical mechanics and elements of relativistic mechanics, hydrodynamics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, physics of materials)
Astrophysics is an observational science. Each of the topics is addressed both in its theoretical and observational aspects as well as the techniques for observing astrophysical objects.
1. IN SITU OBSERVATION
– TP 1 (3 hours), visit of the planetarium of Marseille (Palais Longchamp), study of the coordinate systems of the stars, introduction to the techniques of observation, preparation for the observations at the OHP, study of a telescope, tools for data reduction (python)
– TP 2 (2 days), visit and night observations and analysis of the data obtained at the OHP
2. THE STARS
– Course 1 & TD 1 (3 hours), Black body and spectrometry (Stefan-Boltzmann, Kirchhoff laws, colours & magnitudes)
– Lecture 2 & TD 2 (3 hours), Classification of stars (H-R diagram), characteristics of stars (energy production, life & death)
Note: Observations made at the OHP allow for work on the study of stars (observation and study of a globular cluster)
3. PLANETARY SYSTEMS
– Lecture 3 & TD 3 (3 hours), introduction to planetary systems. Method of detection and characterisation.
– TP 3 (3 hours), detection of an exoplanet by velocimetry from real data obtained at the OHP with the professional spectrograph SOPHIE
Note: The multidisciplinary TD prepares the TP on the detection of an exoplanet.
– Course 4 & TD 4 (3 hours), introduction to galaxies, interstellar medium and the Galaxy (composition, physics, stellar populations, interstellar medium, kinematics, dynamics, dark matter)
– TP 4 (3 hours), online manipulation of the Onsala radio telescope (Sweden) to map a region of the Milky Way in neutral hydrogen.
Note: Galaxies are observed at the OHP.
– Lecture 5 & TD 5 (3 hours), introduction to cosmology (major observations, Hubble’s law, cosmological radiation, primordial nucleosynthesis, dark matter, dark energy, cosmological models, current issues)