Lecturer: Boris Gänsicke
You will find here the material shown in the lectures as Powerpoint file (ppt) that you can download, as well as web pages to view online. Have a look at the syllabus for more details on the aims and the content of the course.
|1. Observational instrumentation: optical & X-ray telescopes, CCD detectors, imaging, spectroscopy||ppt||web|
|2. Accretion onto compact objects: a powerful energy source, Eddington limit||ppt||web|
|3. Binary stars: Roche potential, Lagrange points, binary star configurations, interactions in close binaries, angular momentum and mass transfer between two stars, conservative mass transfer, stable and unstable mass transfer, orbital angular momentum loss, common envelope evolution, binary star zoology||ppt||web|
|4. Black holes: mass measurements of stellar black holes in binaries and of the black hole in the centre of the Galaxy, ultraluminous X-ray sources, and the possible existence of intermediate mass black holes||ppt||web|
|5. Accretion discs: structure, emitted spectrum, stability, boundary layer, indirect imaging||ppt||web|
|6. Jets: Jets in AGN, superluminal motion, relativistic beaming, jets in young stellar objects, SS433, escape velocity, jet driving mechanisms||ppt||web|
|7. Accretion onto magnetic stars: Alven radius, the origin of magnetic fields in compact stars, accretion columns, conditions in the pre- and post-shock plasma, gas dynamics, thermal bremsstrahlung, cyclotron radiation||ppt||web|
Previous exams available from the Library
Additional (optional) reading material (if you can not get the full-text papers, use the Athens login, or go through the library):
- An example of infrared imaging using adaptive optics: the expanding shell of a Helium nova.
- The latest data release (DR9) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in the BBC News, a fantastic example of astronomy with state-of-the art technology (multi-object fibre spectrograph, large CCD camera)
- Photon-counting in the optical? In principle yes, see First Astronomical Application of a Cryogenic Transition Edge Sensor Spectrophotometer, but is still technologically challenging, and the size of the detector arrays are tiny compared to conventional CCD.
- Ransom et al's discovery of A millisecond pulsar in a stellar triple system (see the BBC's new item)
- Van Kerkwijk et al's paper on the detection of Doppler boosting in the light curve of an eclipsing binary
- Gänsicke et al's paper finding the elusive "minimum period spike" in the period distribution of cataclysmic variables
- Marsh et al's paper weighing the black hole in the low mass X-ray binary A 0620-00
- Schoedel et al's paper on the mass of the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way
- Gilessen et al's paper on the discovery of a gas cloud on its way to SgrA* (see the BBC's news item)
- Silverman et al's paper on IC10 X-1, currently the most massive stellar black hole known
- Shakura & Sunyaev's seminal paper on the structure accretion discs, and a recent discussion on the possible values of "alpha"
- Gänsicke et al's paper on a metal-rich debris disc around a white dwarf, see also this sequence of cartoons
- Tanaka et al's paper on a relativistic Kα emission line from close to the supermassive black hole in MCG-6-30-15
- Marsh & Horne's paper introducing the method of Doppler tomography
- Several papers by Margon et al. announcing the discovery of SS433, and coming up with the basic model for the observed radial velocity changes: 1979a, 1979b, 1980
- One of the most recent papers attempting a mass determination of the compact object in SS433 - not overwhelmingly exciting except for the conclusion that we still don't know if it is a NS or BH.