PHYSICS 7532 - Atmospheric and Astrophysics
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017
General Course Information
Course Code PHYSICS 7532 Course Atmospheric and Astrophysics Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences Term Semester 1 Level Postgraduate Coursework 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 2201, MATHS 2102 or MATHS 2202 Incompatible PHYSICS 3013, PHYSICS 3014, PHYSICS 3532 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 also will 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 Coordinator: Associate Professor Ross Young
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
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
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
1-10 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
10 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
10 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
10 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
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)
Andrews, D. G. (2000): An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, CUP
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)
MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/).
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
- 3 Lectures of 1 hour each per week
- 1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week
A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
Ø Solar-Planetary Relations
- introduction to planetary atmospheres
- simple radiative balance
Ø Atmospheric Thermodynamics
- first law of thermodynamics
- effects of water vapour
- atmospheric stability
- thermodynamic diagrams
- mixing and convection
- formation of cloud droplets
Ø Radiation and Radiative Transfer
- 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
- Eulerian and Lagrangian frames
- momentum equations in a rotating frame of reference
- equation of continuity
- scale analysis
- geostrophic motions
- pressure coordinates
- turbulence, frictional effects and secondary circulations
Ø Climate and Climate Change
- ozone production and loss
- greenhouse effect and climate feedbacks
Ø Binary Stars and Accretion in Close Binary Systems
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment
Yes or No #
Objectives being assessed / achieved Assignments Formative & Summative 30-40% No 1 – 10 Exam Summative 60-70% No 1 – 10
While this course is offered concurrently to undergraduate students, all postgraduate students are expected to perform at a higher level both qualitatively and quantitatively. To facilitate this, postgraduate students are required to address additional content in the projects and the examination within the same timeframe as undergraduate students.
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.
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.
Although tutorials will not contribute to the course grade, attendance is highly recommended. Tutorials will be scheduled as required by the Lecturers at only one of the given tutorials sessions in any given week.
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.
Extensions for Assessment Tasks
Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from: http://www.sciences.adelaide.edu.au/current/
Late submission of assessments
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
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.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
- Academic Support with Maths
- Academic Support with writing and speaking skills
- Student Life Counselling Support - Personal counselling for issues affecting study
- International Student Support
- AUU Student Care - Advocacy, confidential counselling, welfare support and advice
- Students with a Disability - Alternative academic arrangements
- Reasonable Adjustments to Teaching & Assessment for Students with a Disability Policy
Policies & Guidelines
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
- IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy
- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process