Theoretical Astrophysics
Course content
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 Nbody and gases, selfgravitating fluids
 Astrophysical flows: basic properties of disks, jets, and winds
MSc Programme in Physics
MSc Programme in Physics w. minor subject
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 selfgravitating 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.
The lectures will usually be given in the blackboard. There will be a total of 6 or 7 nonmandatory assignemnts, i.e., students that choose not to hand in the assignments can still take the exam. However, investing the time in doing these exercises is considered to be a crucial part of the learning experience for this course and they do carry 1/3 of the final grade. Most of the exercises will be analytical and there could be some computer exercises that could be done using Matlab, Mathematica, Python, or other program or language that the students find useful.
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, WileyVCH, 2013
Students will benefit from being acquainted with basic concepts in Calculus, Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics. Knowledge about fluid dynamics is welcome but not essential. Students who would like to take the course but could benefit from brushing up their knowledge in these and related subjects are encouraged to contact M. Pessah in advance in order to discuss useful reading material toward this end.
 ECTS
 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) 4hour 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
 7point grading scale
 Censorship form
 No external censorship
several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment
see learning outcome
Single subject courses (day)
 Category
 Hours
 Lectures
 28
 Exercises
 28
 Preparation
 146
 Exam
 4
 English
 206
Kursusinformation
 Language
 English
 Course number
 NFYK14011U
 ECTS
 7,5 ECTS
 Programme level
 Full Degree Master
 Duration

1 block
 Schedulegroup

B
 Capacity
 No limitation
 Studyboard
 Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience
 The Niels Bohr Institute
Course Coordinator
 Martin Elias Pessah (77073687676646b4371656c316e7831676e)
Teacher
Martin Pessah, 35 32 53 12, Bygning B, 011Bb6
Oliver Gressel
Tobias Heinemann
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