PX3A915 Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars
Introductory description
We will discuss the compact objects  white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes (BH)  that can form when burnt out stars collapse under their own gravity. The extreme conditions in their neighbourhood mean that they affect strongly all nearby objects as well as the surrounding structure of spacetime. For example, they can lead to very high luminosity phenomena, such as synchrotron radiation and jets of ionised particles that we can observe from Earth.
These compact objects accrete material from surrounding gases and nearby stars. In the case of BHs this can lead to the supermassive BHs thought to be at the centre of most galaxies. In the most extreme events (mergers of these objects), the gravitational waves (GW) that are emitted can sometimes be detected on earth (the first GW detection was reported in 2015 almost exactly 100 years after their prediction by Einstein).
Module aims
To cover the physics of black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars highlighting the role of observation. To give an overview of the possible formation and growth channels of these objects and to discuss their interactions.
Outline syllabus
This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.
 Observational instrumentation, telescope design, detectors
 Accretion onto compact objects as a source of energy, Eddington limit: a maximum accretion rate, structure and the emission of accretion disks, accretion onto magnetic stars, Alven radius
 High energy astrophysics: jets in astrophysical objects, radiation from free electrons, synchrotron radiation, cyclotron radiation, thermal Bremsstrahlung from hot accretion plasmas
 Nuclear physics: stable and unstable nuclear shell burning in accreting white dwarfs and neutron stars
 Formation pathways for black holes. Supernovae, gammaray bursts. Exploding white dwarfs, merging neutron stars. Mergers and associated gravitational wave emission
Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
 Identify the major emission mechanisms for electromagnetic and gravitational waves of astrophysical objects
 Describe the physical basis of detection methods for UVradiation and Xrays from astrophysical sources
 Use electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics to estimate emission of EM radiation
 Quantify physical conditions in a variety of astrophysical systems on the basis of measured data
 Describe the observational methodologies used to study gravitational waves
Indicative reading list
H Bradt, Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations, Cambridge University Press
J Frank, AR King and DJ Raine, Accretion Power in Astrophysics, CUP
C Hellier Cataclysmic Variables: How and why they vary, Springer
View reading list on Talis Aspire
Subject specific skills
Knowledge of mathematics and physics. Skills in modelling, reasoning, thinking.
Transferable skills
Analytical, communication, problemsolving, selfstudy
Study time
Type  Required 

Lectures  30 sessions of 1 hour (20%) 
Private study  120 hours (80%) 
Total  150 hours 
Private study description
Working through lecture notes, solving problems, wider reading, discussing with others taking the module, revising for exam, practising on past exam papers
Costs
No further costs have been identified for this module.
You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.
Assessment group B
Weighting  Study time  

Inperson Examination  100%  
Answer 3 questions

Feedback on assessment
Personal tutor, group feedback
Courses
This module is Core for:

UPXAF3F5 Undergraduate Physics with Astrophysics (BSc)
 Year 3 of F3F5 Physics with Astrophysics
 Year 3 of F3F5 Physics with Astrophysics
 Year 3 of UPXAF3FA Undergraduate Physics with Astrophysics (MPhys)
This module is Option list A for:

UPXAF300 Undergraduate Physics (BSc)
 Year 3 of F300 Physics
 Year 3 of F300 Physics
 Year 3 of F300 Physics

UPXAF303 Undergraduate Physics (MPhys)
 Year 3 of F300 Physics
 Year 3 of F303 Physics (MPhys)
This module is Option list B for:

UMAAG105 Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year)
 Year 4 of G105 Mathematics (MMath) with Intercalated Year
 Year 5 of G105 Mathematics (MMath) with Intercalated Year

UMAAG100 Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc)
 Year 3 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 3 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 3 of G100 Mathematics

UMAAG103 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 3 of G100 Mathematics
 Year 3 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 3 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 4 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 4 of G103 Mathematics (MMath)
 Year 4 of UMAAG106 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe

UPXAGF13 Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc)
 Year 3 of GF13 Mathematics and Physics
 Year 3 of GF13 Mathematics and Physics

UPXAFG31 Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (MMathPhys)
 Year 3 of FG31 Mathematics and Physics (MMathPhys)
 Year 3 of FG31 Mathematics and Physics (MMathPhys)
 Year 4 of UPXAGF14 Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (with Intercalated Year)
 Year 4 of UMAAG101 Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year