PHYSICS 3532 - Atmospheric and Astrophysics III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course will provide students with a knowledge of modern techniques, theory, and observational results relating to energetic processes in astrophysics and cosmology, and introduce the physics of planetary atmospheres with special emphasis on the atmosphere of the Earth. It will also provide students with knowledge of the physical processes that govern weather and climate. Content will include: Introduction to planetary atmospheres and the solar system. Radiative transfer in the sun-earth system. Thermodynamics of the atmosphere, including cloud physics, atmospheric motions and circulation. Introduction to the roles of aerosols and minor atmospheric constituents such as water vapour, carbon dioxide and ozone. The impact of anthropogenic processes. An introduction to relevant astrophysics terminology. Binary stars and accretion processes. The structure and evolution of the Milky Way and other galaxies. Active galaxies and unified models. Aspects of special and general relativity relevant to astrophysics. Cosmology, observations and theory."

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 3532
    Course Atmospheric and Astrophysics III
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PHYSICS 2510, PHYSICS 2534, MATHS 2101 or MATHS 2202, MATHS 2102 or MATHS 2201
    Incompatible PHYSICS 3013 & PHYSICS 3014
    Course Description This course will provide students with a knowledge of modern techniques, theory, and observational results relating to energetic processes in astrophysics and cosmology, and introduce the physics of planetary atmospheres with special emphasis on the atmosphere of the Earth. It will also provide students with knowledge of the physical processes that govern weather and climate.

    Content will include:

    Introduction to planetary atmospheres and the solar system. Radiative transfer in the sun-earth system. Thermodynamics of the atmosphere, including cloud physics, atmospheric motions and circulation. Introduction to the roles of aerosols and minor atmospheric constituents such as water vapour, carbon dioxide and ozone. The impact of anthropogenic processes. An introduction to relevant astrophysics terminology. Binary stars and accretion processes. The structure and evolution of the Milky Way and other galaxies. Active galaxies and unified models. Aspects of special and general relativity relevant to astrophysics. Cosmology, observations and theory."
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Derek Leinweber

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1. understand Binary Stars and Accretion in Close Binary Systems, and the associated processes occurring in the Milky Way and other galaxies;

    2. explain aspects of special and general relativity related to astrophysics;

    3. explain cosmology, both observation and theory;

    4. apply the concepts of thermodynamics of dry and moist air, radiation and radiative transfer relevant to planetary atmospheres;

    5. explain the basic motion of the atmosphere;

    6. explain climate and climate change;

    7. apply appropriate techniques for solving a range of problems

    8. assess the validity of any assumptions that were made, and the correctness of the solution;

    9. identify the basic concepts and results of modern research papers in atmospheric and astrophysics;

    10. use the tools, methodologies, language and conventions of physics to test and communicate ideas and explanations.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-10
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 7-10
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 7-10
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 7-10
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-10
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    - Zeilik, M and Gregory, S.A. (1998) Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics, 4th Edition (Thomson)

    - Wallace, J. M. and P. V. Hobbs (2006): Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey, 2nd Edition, (Academic Press)

    or

    - Andrews, D. G. (2000): An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, CUP
    Recommended Resources

    1.1 Recommended Resources

    - Rogers, R. R. and M. K. Yau (1989): A Short Course in Cloud Physics, 3rd Edition, (Pergamon Press).

    - Holton, J. R. An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, (Academic Press) (any edition).

    - Carroll, B.W. and Ostlie, D.A. (2007): An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics (either edition) (Addison-Wesley)
    Online Learning

    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels with the Physics Discipline throughout the year. The primary communication channels from the Discipline to students are MyUNI and Email.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Students are introduced to course content through lecture and independent reading. They develop their understanding through discussion, independent and group problem solving and completing assignments.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.


    A full-time student should expect to spend, on average, a total of 48 hours per week on their studies. This includes the formal contact time required for the course (e.g. lectures: 3 hours/week, tutorials: 1 hour/week, practicals: 3 hours/fortnight), as well as non-contact time (e.g. reading and revision). For a 3-unit course, the expected workload would be, on average, 12 hours per week.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Coursework Content

    Ø Solar-Planetary Relations (4%)

    - introduction to planetary atmospheres

    - simple radiative balance

    Ø Atmospheric Thermodynamics (14%)

    - first law of thermodynamics

    - effects of water vapour

    - atmospheric stability

    - thermodynamic diagrams

    - mixing and convection

    - formation of cloud droplets

    - precipitation

    Ø Radiation and Radiative Transfer (14%)

    - black-body radiation

    - extinction and emission

    - absorption in the atmosphere

    - radiative transfer equation and solution

    - heating rates

    - cooling to space

    - aerosols: Rayleigh and Mie scattering

    Ø The Atmosphere in Motion (14%)

    - Eulerian and Lagrangian frames

    - momentum equations in a rotating frame of reference

    - equation of continuity

    - scale analysis

    - geostrophic motions

    - pressure coordinates

    - vorticity

    - turbulence, frictional effects and secondary circulations

    Ø Climate and Climate Change (4%)

    - ozone production and loss

    - greenhouse effect and climate feedbacks

    Ø Binary Stars and Accretion in Close Binary Systems (10%)

    - Visual, spectroscopic and eclipsing binary stars

    - Evolution of close binaries

    - Accretion in semi-detached systems; accretion disks

    - White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes in binary systems

    Ø The Milky Way and other Galaxies (15%)

    - Composition and size of the Milky Way

    - Galactic structure, spiral arms

    - The Centre of the Milky Way

    - Galaxies beyond the Milky Way – types, multiwavelength observations

    - Galaxies and the distance scale

    - Large scale structure of the Universe

    - Active Galactic Nuclei, types and a unified model

    Ø Aspects of Special and General Relativity related to Astrophysics (12%)

    - Relativistic Doppler shift and associated redshift

    - Inverse Compton Scattering and synchrotron radiation

    - Theory of apparent superluminal motion

    - Doppler shift and Doppler factor of active galactic nuclei

    - Relativistic beaming and Doppler boosted luminosity

    - Gravitational deflection of light and gravitational lensing

    - Gravitational redshift and black holes

    Ø Cosmology – observations and theory (13%)

    - Key observations of the Universe

    - Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker metric

    - Einstein-de Sitter model and closure density

    - Cosmological redshift

    - Thermodynamics of matter, radiation and dark energy

    - The early Universe and decoupling

    - Age of Universe as function of redshift

    - Angular diameter distance and luminosity distance as tools for measuring cosmological parameters

    - Primordial nucleosynthesis
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Percentage of total weighting
    Hurdle
    Yes/No
    Learning Outcome
    Assignments Formative & Summative

    30-40%

    No 1-10
    Exam Summative 60-70% No 1-10
    Assessment Detail

    Assignments
    Assignments (from 30 - 40% of the course grade – the percentage weighting of assignments and examination will be decided at the start of the semester in consultation with students). The assignments will be used during the semester to assess knowledge and understanding of the concepts and the ability to use the techniques involved in the course, and to provide students with a benchmark for progress in the course.

    Final exam
    One 3-hour exam (from 60 - 70% of the course grade – the percentage weighting of assignments and examination will be decided at the start of the semester in consultation with students) will be used to assess the understanding of and the ability to use the material.
    Submission

    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.


    Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines. There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks: the submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained. An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class. This procedure does not apply to the MyUni quizzes which must be completed before the deadlines.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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