Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics

Open Yale


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This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.

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Cosa impari in questo corso?

Solar System
Planetary Orbits
Discovering Exoplanets
Planetary Transits


Lecture 1 Introduction

Lecture 2 Planetary Orbits

Lecture 3 Our Solar System and the Pluto Problem

Lecture 4 Discovering Exoplanets: Hot Jupiters

Lecture 5 Planetary Transits

Lecture 6 Microlensing, Astrometry and Other Methods

Lecture 7 Direct Imaging of Exoplanets

Update 1 The Kepler Mission

Exam 1 Midterm Exam 1

Lecture 8 Introduction to Black Holes

Lecture 9 Special and General Relativity

Lecture 10 Tests of Relativity

Lecture 11 Special and General Relativity (cont.)

Lecture 12 Stellar Mass Black Holes

Lecture 13 Stellar Mass Black Holes (cont.)

Lecture 14 Pulsars

Lecture 15 Supermassive Black Holes

Update 2 Do Black Holes Spin?

Exam 2 Midterm Exam 2

Lecture 16 Hubble's Law and the Big Bang

Lecture 17 Hubble's Law and the Big Bang (cont.)

Lecture 18 Hubble's Law and the Big Bang (cont.)

Lecture 19 Omega and the End of the Universe

Lecture 20 Dark Matter

Lecture 21 Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe and the Big Rip

Lecture 22 Supernovae

Lecture 23 Other Constraints: The Cosmic Microwave Background

Lecture 24 The Multiverse and Theories of Everything

Update 3 The “Dark Ages” and the Growth of Structure