Computational Astrophysics: Star and Planet Formation

Course content

The course gives an introduction to contemporary computational astrophysics, and covers both technical aspects, in particular efficient code development and parallelization, methods including fluid and particle dynamics, gravitational collapse, radiative energy transfer, and an overview of computational models for microphysical processes, such as cooling, heating, dust dynamics, and astrochemistry. The course exercises introduce and illustrate these concepts, and give a “hands-on” feeling for how and in what context they are used. During the course exercises the students will build a highly modular yet simple core program, which includes most of the methods covered in the lectures. 


MSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome


  • Modeling the dynamics of the interstellar medium
  • Modeling gravitational collapse
  • Solving the radiation transfer equation
  • Using radiative transfer in connection with analysis and modeling of observations
  • Modeling dust dynamics and gas-dust interaction
  • Reporting on current theories and models of star and planet formation.


The student will come to know the fundamental equations that govern astrophysical gas dynamics, including radiative energy transfer and coupled gas-dust dynamics. In addition the student will achieve knowledge of the basic computational techniques used in modern astrophysics including the principles of adaptive mesh refinement techniques and particle methods.


The course gives basic competences in numerical modelling, and will establish a foundation for a M.Sc. project based on numerical modelling.

Lectures, exercises and projects work

P. Bodenheimer, G. P. Laughlin, M. Rozyczka, T. Plewa, H. W. Yorke: “Numerical Methods in Astrophysics”.  Complemented with lecture notes.

Bachelor courses: "Galakser" and "Planetsystemer og stjernedannelse".
The M.Sc. course The Interstellar Medium and Formation of Stars is recommended but not required

The course is given every year.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Written assignment
The exam consists of two parts:
The continuous part of the evaluation, wich consists of 2-3 exercises per week, counts for 70% of the final grade.
A written 4-day report (Monday to Thursday) with an oral defense (Friday) counts for 30% of the final grade.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
two internal examiners; the course responsible and an internal censor.
Criteria for exam assessment

see learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Theory exercises
  • 28
  • Project work
  • 28
  • Exam
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 92
  • English
  • 206