PHYSICS OF COMPACT OBJECTS
Neutron stars * White Dwarfs * Black Holes

Autumn term 2021, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy @ Aarhus Uni.
Link to AU Kursuskatalog

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

Content:
A general introduction to the physics of compact objects (black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs) and binary interactions. We introduce the theory of degenerate Fermi gases and apply it to simple equations-of-states 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 spin of black holes and the formation, evolution and detection of X-ray binaries. Finally, we discuss gravitational waves and the nature of the recent LIGO detections of binary mergers.

Competency description:
After completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the structure and evolution of compact objects. More specifically, the student is expected to be able to:
- apply simple physical models to derive and discuss qualitative and quantitative aspects of various phenomena and processes related to the nature of compact objects.
- compare and discuss analytical models with recent observational data.
- describe the basic method for detecting compact objects and testing current ideas of their formation and binary interactions.
- exemplify recent research articles or discoveries related to this topic.

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

Lectures:
Thomas Tauris
Wednesdays: 12:15-14:00 in room 1531-215 at Math Dept.
Exercises:
Thomas Tauris
Analytic (mainly) and numerical calculations (a good calculator is recommended).
Mondays: 10:15-12:00 in room 1520-516 at IFA.
First exercises: September 8
Exam: (for those who wish to earn credit points)
For the oral examination, the student draws one of 6 known questions and
is expected to derive central equations and discuss the content.

Language:
English

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Topics:
- 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

Literature:
- Shapiro and Teukolsky (1983) "Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars", Wiley-Interscience
- Tauris and van den Heuvel (2022) "Physics of Binary Star Evolution" (in press, Princeton Uni. Press)
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..."
- Reynolds (2020) "Observations of Black Hole Spins - Review"
- Riles (2013) "Gravitational Waves: Sources, Detectors and Searches"
- Giacomazzo et al. (2019) "Neutron Star Mergers and Kilonovae"
- 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"

Resources:
Webpage with updated resources for this course
Last Modified: 2021/09/08