Neutron stars * White Dwarfs * Black Holes

Summer term 2017, Argelander Institute for Astronomy @ Uni. Bonn / MPIfR
Course: astro 8504.
Link to Kommentiertes Vorlesungsverzeichnis Sommersemester 2017

A general introduction to the fascinating physics of compact objects and binary interactions.

We introduce the theory of degenerate Fermi gases and apply it to simple equations of state for white dwarfs and neutron stars. We investigate the structure, cooling and evolution of white dwarfs and neutron stars and compare with observational properties. We analyse the formation, evolution and detection of X-ray binaries, including the dynamical effects of asymmetric supernovae. Finally, we discuss the nature and recent detection of gravitational waves.

Competency description:
The student will learn the basic physics of compact objects and binary interactions and relate this knowledge to observations. In particular the student will learn to:
- demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of degenerate Fermi gases and equations-of-state
- relate the theoretical structure and evolution of white dwarfs and neutron stars to observational properties obtained from recent observations made by satellites and radio telescopes
- analyse the spin evolution of pulsars
- characterise properties and identification of black holes
- analyse the full evolution of a binary system (from the ZAMS to final compact objects) understand the basic physics of binary interactions, especially accretion in X-ray binaries
- demonstrate knowledge about gravitational waves and their detection
- review and comment on articles related to this topic
- solve and understand various written exercises given during the course

Admission requirements:
This course is for Master and PhD students in physics or astronomy. A bachelor degree in physics or astronomy is required.

Thomas Tauris (guest lectures: Aris Noutsos, Norbert Wex)
Thursdays: 9:15-11:00 in room 0.008 at AIfA.

Analytic (mainly) and numerical calculations (an advanced calculator is recommended).
Mondays: 12:30-13:45 in room 0.006 at AIfA.

Exam: (for those who wish to earn credit points)
Oral exam on Monday July 31, 2017
Re-exam on Monday Sept. 25, 2017



- Introduction to Compact Objects
- Degenerate Fermi Gases
- Cold Eq.-of-state Below Neutron Drip
- Structure and Cooling of White Dwarfs
- Cold Eq.-of-state Above Neutron Drip
- Structure of Neutron Stars
- Searching for Radio Pulsars
- Spin and B-field Evolution of Neutron Stars/Magnetars
- X-ray Binaries
- Recycling Millisecond Pulsars
- Testing General Relativity with Compact Objects
- The Spin of Black Holes
- Gravitational Waves
- Exam

- Shapiro and Teukolsky (1983) "Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars", Wiley-Interscience
And parts of the following papers/books:
- Tauris and van den Heuvel (2006) "Formation and Evolution of Stellar Compact Stellar X-ray Sources"
- McClintock, Narayan and Steiner (2013) "Black Hole Spin via Continuum Fitting and..."
- Riles (2013) "Gravitational Waves: Sources, Detectors and Searches"
- Ghosh (2007) "Rotation and Accretion Powered Pulsars"
- Camenzind (2007) "Compact Objects in Astrophysics"
- Haensel, Potekhin and Yakovlev (2006) "Neutron Stars 1"
- Lorimer and Kramer (2004) "Handbook on Pulsar Astronomy"

Webpage with updated resources for this course
Last Modified: 2017/09/19 Design © 2010 Fabian Schneider