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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Theoretical Astrophysics
Module Code PS526
School School of Mathematical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Turlough Downes
Semester 2: Turlough Downes
Autumn: Turlough Downes
Module TeachersTurlough Downes
Maria Chernyakova
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

Graduate astrophysics

Learning Outcomes

1. Appraise the use of a variety of models for the dynamics of plasmas in different astrophysical systems
2. Identify the key assumptions in deriving the shock relations in plasmas
3. Summarise the primary process by which non-thermal particles are accelerated.
4. Identify and describe radiative processes leading to the observed X-ray and gamma-ray emission.
5. Differentiate between the various radiative processes relevant to a variety of astrophysical systems

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Traditional lecture format, designed to support the student learning more independently during the workshops.
Workshop24The students will work in groups to investigate pre-defined problems which are based on lecture material. When appropriate groups will be asked to elect one member to present their work to the class.
Independent Study140The student will be assigned reading to complete independently which will be used during lectures and workshops. In addition, the student will revise the course material in preparation for assessments etc.
Total Workload: 188

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Plasma Astrophysics
Ideal MHD; non-ideal MHD; multi-fluid MHD; Generalised Ohm's Law

Shocks and astrophysical plasmas
Rankine-Hugoniot relations; ideal MHD; non-ideal MHD; multi-fluid MHD; numerical study of MHD

Astrophysical shocks
The Rankine-Hugoniot relations; J-shocks; C-shocks

Shock acceleration
The Fermi process; Acceleration power-law distribution; Acceleration time-scales

Radiative Processes
Thermal radiation; radiative transfer; synchrotron emission; Thomson scattering; Synchrotron Emission, Inverce Compton Emission, Hadronic Emission

Star Formation
Jeans instability; Stages of gravitational contraction; accretion processes;

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment10% Examination Weight90%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ParticipationParticipation in weekly workshops, including partaking actively and constructively in discussions and having read assigned reading, will be assessed. The assessment will be performed by the lecturer during the workshops and one twelfth of the total mark is assigned to each workshop.10%Every Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • GB Rybicki and AP Lightman: 0, Radiative processes in astrophysics,
  • Bellan, Paul Murray, Cambridge University Press, c2006: 0, Fundamentals of plasma physics,
  • Shu, F, University Science Books: 0, Physics of Astrophysics Vol II,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
CHPMMaster of Science
MSARMSc in Astrophysics and Relativity
PYPMMaster of Science

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