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Introduction to astrophysics



De Frédéric Courbin


PPUR - Collection : BOOCs EPFL - 23/03/2017

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    This course provides an overview of the physical phenomena at play in the astronomical objects surrounding us, from planets and stars to the cosmic filaments, from galaxies such as our own Milky Way to large galaxy clusters. The course emphasizes the links between theoretical predictions and observations. In this course, you will learn the basics of astrophysics using simplified mathematical developments. In particular, you will learn the role played by gravity in astrophysics, including gravitational lensing, and how matter and radiation interact. The material in this course is essential to follow more advanced astrophysics courses. This course is part of the BOOC series (Book ad Open Online Courses), a collection of reading material supporting the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) provided by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. These documents ideally complement the course, as they help revising the MOOC and obtain the certificate.


    • Week 1: Brief Overview – Kepler's three laws of planetary motion – The virial theorem – The virial theorem: numerical illustrations
    • Week 2: The process of radiation – Black bodies/atomic lines – Measuring radiation
    • Week 3: The Doppler effect – Interstellar and intergalactic matter – Tidal forces and the Earth-Moon distance
    • Week 4: The Roche limit – Comets – The energy balance of planets – Planetary atmosphere
    • Week 5: Star formation – Stellar classification/HR diagram – Stellar evolution: the life and death of stars
    • Week 6: Galaxies – Galaxies: numerical illustrations – Rotation of the Milky Way – Dark matter in galaxies and clusters of galaxies
    • Week 7: Introduction to cosmology – Distance scale – Gravitational lensing
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    • eBook [PDF]

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