# NFYK14011U Theoretical Astrophysics

MSc Programme in Physics

MSc Programme in Physics w. minor subject

This fundamental course provides an overview of some of the most important astrophysical processes that shape the evolution, and observational properties, of astrophysical systems, from planets to stars, and from supermassive black holes to entire galaxies. The course is strongly recommended for all students starting at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels in preparation for their further study and research in any area of astrophysics, including planetary sciences and cosmology. We will cover the basic equations, learn how to solve them, and understand their implications. This course will provide students with a wide range of interests in observational, theoretical, or computational astrophysics with a valuable toolkit to become more competent researchers.

The aim of this course is to bring together several key concepts in physics and build upon them in order to understand some of the most important processes in astrophysics. This is crucial in order to understand the formation and evolution of a wide range of astrophysical systems. This is a demanding task that is possible to accomplish by attending the lectures and investing the time in doing the weekly homework assignments. This course has been designed in such a way that lectures and weekly assignments come together to achieve the goals sets forth.

**Content:** This course gives an introduction to,
and builds upon, the following subjects:

- Order of magnitude astrophysics, fundamental concepts and equations
- Radiative processes: basic radiative transfer, absorption, scattering
- Hydrodynamics: fundamental equations, waves, instabilities, shocks
- Magnetohydrodynamics: fundamental equations, waves, instabilities
- Gravity: virial theorem for N-body and gases, self-gravitating fluids
- Astrophysical flows: basic properties of disks, jets, and winds

*Skills:*

When the course is finished it is expected that the student is able
to:

- Identify the physical processes involved in a given astrophysical setting
- Carry out order of magnitude calculations to support physical intuition
- Solve basic problems involving radiative transfer, wave propagation, instabilities, and shocks in hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics.

*Knowledge:*

When the course is finished it is expected that the student is able
to:

- Explain the basic astrophysical processes covered by the course content
- Explain how these processes act together to dictate the dynamics of astrophysical flows such as self-gravitating fluids, disk, winds, and jets.

*Competences:*

This course will endow the students with a powerful set of tools
that will allow them to work more confidently on a wide variety of
subjects in astrophysics. The competences acquired in this course
are a valuable complement to those obtained in observational and
phenomenological astrophysics courses. These competences are an
indispensable asset for students wishing to pursue studies in any
branch of astrophysics. This course provides the students with the
background knowledge to pursue research in this field and is an
excellent preparation for a M.Sc. project.

See Absalon for final course material. The following is an example of expected course literature.

There is no mandatory book for the course. The lectures draw upon several books but mostly follow the spirit of

- Theoretical Astrophysics. Vol. 1., Astrophysical Processes.

T. Padmanabhan. Cambridge University Press. 2000.

This is an excellent book for the theoretically inclined students, but it might be rather advanced for students to read it on their own. The lectures that draw from this book are prepared to make the material accessible. If you like to see the book before you decide whether to buy it, you can have a look at the copy in the NBI library, or just stop by M. Pessah’s office. You are also welcome to send an email with inquiries.

Some students could find other books at the library useful, e.g.,

- Principles of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Clarke and Carswell, Cambridge University Press. 2014.
The Physics of Fluids and Plasmas, An Introduction to Astrophysics., A. R. Chouduri. Cambridge University Press. 1998.

Theoretical Astrophysics, An Introduction, M. Bartelmann, Wiley-VCH, 2013

As
an exchange, guest and credit student - click here!

Continuing Education - click here!

- Credit
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Continuous assessmentWritten examination, 4 hours under invigilationThe final grade will be based on two components:

(i) weekly homework assignments (1/3 of the final grade)

(ii) 4-hour written exam (2/3 of the final grade) - Aid
- Only certain aids allowed
- Class notes provided by Lecturer in Absalon

- Class notes taken by students in class

- Pocket calculator

- List of physical constants and astronomical data (provided)

- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
several internal examiners
- Re-exam
A 4-hour written exam will count for 2/3 of the final grade. 1/3 of the grade will be based on the weekly assignments that are to be handed in during the course. The assignments cannot be re-submitted. This means that it will only be possible to acheive up to 2/3 of the maximum grade without following the course again, if the assignments were not sumitted.

##### Criteria for exam assesment

see learning outcome

- Category
- Hours
- Lectures
- 28
- Exercises
- 28
- Preparation
- 146
- Exam
- 4
- Total
- 206

### Course information

- Language
- English
- Course code
- NFYK14011U
- Credit
- 7,5 ECTS
- Level
- Full Degree Master
- Duration
- 1 block
- Placement
- Block 1
- Schedule
- B
- Course capacity
- No limitation
- Continuing and further education
- Study board
- Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

##### Contracting department

- The Niels Bohr Institute

##### Course responsibles

- Martin Elias Pessah (7-72756a7878666d4573676e33707a336970)

##### Lecturers

Martin Pessah, 35 32 53 12, Bygning B, 01-1-Bb6

Oliver Gressel

Tobias Heinemann