An introduction to cosmology & astrophysics

These are the notes that were written by John Reid for half of our level 2 course Cosmology, Astronomy and Modern Physics. They deal with cosmology (5 sections) and the evolution of stars (1 section).

For each section there are PowerPoint slides and separate notes. In addition there are links to some supplementary pieces and a modest number of relevant web pages from elsewhere.

This part of our course is now given by Charles Wang and students enrolled in PX2512 or the e-learning (and externally available) KL2575 will be able to access the full and updated course notes on the dedicated virtual learning environment page for this course.

The cosmology lectures are preceded by a preamble with some advice.

1: Introduction - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf)

2: Expanding horizons - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf)

3: General Relativity, geometry and the density of the Universe - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf). For some additional insight, see also the supplementary note 'on gravity'.

4: The Big Bang, the genesis of the Universe, the origin of the microwave background - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf)

5: Dark matter and dark energy; the Universe revealed - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf)

6: The evolution of stars - slides; 6-to-a-page summary; notes (all pdf)

Remember the additional reading list that supplements the books mentioned in the general course notes.

In case you missed my writings on a number of supplementary topics in the astronomy course last year, here are links to some of them:

Other supplementary topics plus all the astronomy course notes are on the web page for the level 1 Astronomy course.

Additional notes by the author for this course only:

See also Albert Einstein: Relatively Speaking

A short bibliography suggests some further library reading.

Observational programs aiming to map dark matter, galaxy distributions, type 1A supernova and other features of the universe at large are an important feature of modern astronomy. See for example:

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) running until 2018 at Cerro Tololo in Chile;

The Kilo Degree Survey (KiDS) at the European Southern Observatory in Paranal, Chile

The Physics of the Accelerating Universe (Pau) survey on the Herschel Telescope in La Palma with the Javalambre-Pau Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) development

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System  (Pan-STARRS) on Mount Haleakala in Hawaii

The Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam Survey (HSC) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii

Also WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey; the Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS); the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI); the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX); 4MOST; Euclid and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Some useful/interesting sites:

Physics home

Page constructed by John S. Reid
Last updated Nov 2016