Astronomy I

Physics, First Cycle
Educational Physics
2 year
Hours per week – 1. semester:

Enrollment in academic year.

Content (Syllabus outline)

The Sun as a typical star: mass of the Earth and Sun, their average density. Solar luminosity, effective temperature, surface gravity and rotational acceleration.
Structure of Solar-like stars: hydrostatic equilibrium, dynamical time-scale, central pressure and temperature, justification of calculation with ideal gas, polytropic model, virial theorem, thermal time-scale, optical opacity, free path of photons, energy transport with radiation and convection.
Ages of stars: the case of the Earth and the Sun, nuclear fusion, its stability and timescale, dependence of luminosity on mass for Solar-like stars, Eddington luminosity.
Evolution of stars: formation and Jeans mass, giant phase, final stages of evolution, dependence of evolution on mass.
Observation of stellar evolution: Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, star clusters, distance measurement, spectra of chemical elements in stellar atmospheres, their dependence on temperature, chemical composition, radial velocity and gravity, eclipsing spectroscopic binaries, observations of final stages of stellar evolution.
Interstellar medium: absorption in gas and dust, types of nebulae, observable properties.


H. Karttunen et al.: Fundamental Astronomy, Fifth Edition, Springer, 2007.

F. H. Shu, The Physical Universe. University Science Books, 1982.
A. Čadež: Fizika zvezd, DMFA, 1984.
T. Zwitter: Pot skozi vesolje, Modrijan, 2002.

Objectives and competences

The objective is to get basic knowledge and experience related to stellar physics and related phenomena. Astrophysical explanations connect this phenomenology with a wider picture of the world we live in.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: Unerstanding of relations between phenomena in the Universe, with an emphasis on stellar physics.

Application: The first part of the phyical and lexical picture of the Universe.

Reflection: Reflection of our place in the Universe.

Transferable skills: Experience in the use of aparatus of mathematics and physics to solve open problems.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, numerical exercises, solution of pre-defined problems, use of data on the internet.


Written exam
Oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references

prof. dr. T. Zwitter:
1. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. Pseudo-three-dimensional maps of the diffuse interstellar band at 862 nm. Science, ISSN 1095-9203, 15. avgust 2014, vol. 345, no. 6198, str. 791-795., [COBISS-SI-ID 473217], [JCR, SNIP, Scopus do 1. 10. 2014: št. citatov (TC): 0, čistih citatov (CI): 0, normirano št. čistih citatov (NC): 0]
2. ŽERJAL, Maruška, ZWITTER, Tomaž, MATIJEVIČ, Gal, et al. Chromospherically active stars in the RAdial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) Survey : I. The catalog. The Astrophysical journal, ISSN 0004-637X, 2013, vol. 776, issue 2, article id. 127, str. 1-12. [COBISS-SI-ID 418945],
3. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. Diffuse interstellar band at 8620 Å in RAVE : a new method for detecting the diffuse interstellar band in spectra of cool stars. The Astrophysical journal, ISSN 0004-637X, 2013, vol. 778, issue 2, article id. 86, str. 1-11. [COBISS-SI-ID 421249]
4. ZWITTER, Tomaž, MATIJEVIČ, Gal, et al. Distance determination for RAVE stars using stellar models : II. most likely values assuming a standard stellar evolution scenario. Astronomy & astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, 2010, let. 522, št. A54, str. 1-15. [COBISS-SI-ID 363905]
5. ZWITTER, Tomaž, RE FIORENTIN, Paola, MATIJEVIČ, Gal, VIDRIH, Simon, et al. The radial velocity experiment (RAVE): second data release. The Astronomical journal, ISSN 0004-6256, 2008, let. 136, št. 1, str. 421-451. [COBISS-SI-ID 309377]