Essential Astrophysics

Front Cover
Springer Science & Business Media, May 24, 2013 - Science - 635 pages

Essential Astrophysics is a book to learn or teach from, as well as a fundamental reference volume for anyone interested in astronomy and astrophysics. It presents astrophysics from basic principles without requiring any previous study of astronomy or astrophysics. It serves as a comprehensive introductory text, which takes the student through the field of astrophysics in lecture-sized chapters of basic physical principles applied to the cosmos.

This one-semester overview will be enjoyed by undergraduate students with an interest in the physical sciences, such as astronomy, chemistry, engineering or physics, as well as by any curious student interested in learning about our celestial science. The mathematics required for understanding the text is on the level of simple algebra, for that is all that is needed to describe the fundamental principles.

The text is of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare the interested student for more advanced specialised courses in the future. Astronomical examples are provided throughout the text, to reinforce the basic concepts and physics, and to demonstrate the use of the relevant formulae. In this way, the student learns to apply the fundamental equations and principles to cosmic objects and situations. Astronomical and physical constants and units as well as the most fundamental equations can be found in the appendix. Essential Astrophysics goes beyond the typical textbook by including references to the seminal papers in the field, with further reference to recent applications, results, or specialised literature.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Casually teaching myself astrophysics with this text. It's amazing and so helpful if you're already smart.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Citation: Flow between Blue star and white dwarf may be possible along density variations along frequency resonance and synchronization
The first variable star was identified in 1638 when Johannes
Holwarda noticed that Omicron Ceti (later named Mira) pulsated in a cycle taking 11 months; the star had previously been described as a nova by David Fabricius in 1596. This discovery, combined with supernovae observed in 1572 and 1604, proved that the starry sky was not eternally invariable as Aristotle and other ancient philosophers had taught. In this way, the discovery of variable stars contributed to the astronomical revolution of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
The British physicist Sir James Jeans considered the above phenomenon in detail. He was able to show that, under appropriate conditions, a cloud, or part of one, would start to contract very swiftly as described above. He derived a formula for calculating the mass and size that a cloud would have to reach as a function of its density and temperature before gravitational contraction would begin. This critical mass is known as the Jeans mass. The existence of 'protostars' was first proposed and postulated by Soviet-Armenian scientist,
Sankaravelayudhan Nandakumar on behalf of Hubble Telescope Research and Simon Hooker’s research group Oxford university,Clarendon Lab
Variable stars are generally analysed using photometry, spectrophotometry and spectroscopy. Measurements of their changes in brightness can be plotted to produce light curves. For regular variables, the period of variation and its amplitude can be very well established; for many variable stars, though, these quantities may vary slowly over time, or even from one period to the next. Peak brightnesses in the light curve are known as maxima, while troughs are known as minima.
Intrinsic variables, whose luminosity actually changes; for example, because the star periodically swells and shrinks. Extrinsic variables, whose apparent changes in brightness are due to changes in the amount of their light that can reach Earth; for example, because the star has an orbiting companion that sometimes eclipses it.
Researchers aren't sure what triggers a Type Iax. It's possible that the outer helium layer ignites first, sending a shock wave into the white dwarf. Alternatively, the white dwarf might ignite first due to the influence of the overlying helium shell. In two comprehensive studies of SN 2011fe -- the closest Type Ia supernova in the past two decades -- there is new evidence that indicates that the white dwarf progenitor was a particularly picky eater, leading scientists to conclude that the companion star was not likely to be a Sun-like star or an evolved giant. This white dwarf was a tidy eater,"
Binary Blue star merger
Blue giant stars die in a spectacular way. They grow larger just like the sun-sized stars, but then instead of shrinking and forming a planetary nebula, they explode in what is called a supernova. Supernova explosions can be brighter than an entire galaxy, and can be seen from very far away. Blue supergiants represent a slower burning phase in the death of a massive star.
The star system is called a “yellow supergiant eclipsing binary” -- it contains two very bright, massive yellow stars that are very closely orbiting each other. In fact, the stars are so close together that a large amount of stellar material is shared between them, so that the shape of the system resembles a peanut.
It shows that there are still valuable discoveries hidden in plain sight. You just have to keep your eyes open and connect the dots.”
A stellar magnetic field is a magnetic field generated by the motion of conductive plasma inside a star. This motion is created through convection, which is a form of energy transport involving the physical movement of material. A


1 Observing the Universe
2 Radiation
3 Gravity
4 Cosmic Motion
5 Moving Particles
6 Detecting Atoms in Stars
7 Transmutation of the Elements
8 What Makes the Sun Shine?
12 Formation of the Stars and Their Planets
13 Stellar End States
14 A Larger Expanding Universe
15 Origin Evolution and Destiny of the Observable Universe
16 References
Appendix I Constants
Appendix II Units
Appendix III Fundamental Equations

9 The Extended Solar Atmosphere
10 The Sun Amongst the Stars
11 The Material Between the Stars

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Kenneth R. Lang is professor in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA. He is the author of several successful books (textbooks and popular science books) including "Astrophysical Formulae", "The Sun from Space" or "Parting the Cosmic Veil".

Bibliographic information