Astrophysical Gas Dynamics (Fall 2011)
Instructor: Eliot Quataert (Astronomy Department, Physics Department, UC Berkeley)
Time & Place:
T,TH 2-3:30 in B1 Hearst Field Annex
Office Hours: M
11-12 in B-26 Hearst Field Annex (or stop by my office --
C-13 HFA -- or send me an email to arrange a time to meet).
Gas dynamics is required to understand many of the most interesting problems in modern astrophysics: e.g., the evolution of large scale structure and galaxy formation (at least the baryonic part), star and planet formation, compact objects (BHs, NSs, and WDs), etc. This course will explore the physics of hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics in an astrophysics context. Although it is a graduate level course it does not presuppose previous exposure to gas dynamics. The course will emphasize physical understanding, basic principles, and their applications to astrophysics problems.
Weekly lectures. There will be regular problem sets. Problem sets will include numerical calculations (e.g., solving ODEs). There will be an oral final exam. Your grade will be determined by your HW (75%) and final (25%).
A list of topics, including reading, can be found here.
Most of these books are available on reserve at the
Physics/Astronomy Library, or you can borrow a copy from me (for a
short time, not the whole semester).
The Physics of Astrophysics: Gas Dynamics by Frank Shu
If you are only going to get one book, this is probably the one to get, though no single book is actually very satisfactory.
Fluid Mechanics by Landau & Lifshitz
Nothing on MHD, but a great presentation of fluid dynamics,
particularly the basics.
Physical Fluid Dynamics
by D. J. Tritton
Excellent discussion of 'classical' fluid mechanics, with some
discussion of atmospheric/geophysical applications, but no real
astrophysics. Nonetheless, provides great physical intuition
for the key physics.
Plasma Physics by Peter Sturrock
We will rather quickly cover material in the first 3-5 chapters.
Feynman Lectures on Physics: Vol. II, Ch. 40 & 41
The Physics of Fluids and Plasmas by Arnab Raichoudhuri
Theoretical Astrophysics (3 Vol. Set) by Padmanabhan
Roger Blandford and Kip Thorne's notes from their Caltech course on Applications of Classical Physics (see Ch.12-18)
summary of differential operators in curvilinear coordinates
is very useful.
The National Committee for Fluid Mechanics Films, led by Ascher Shapiro of MIT, created these beautiful and entertaining films on fluid dynamics.Additional Readings