This course discusses high-energy astrophysics. High-energy processes are ubiquitous in the Universe. X-rays are emitted or absorbed by a broad range of sources ranging from the solar system, stars, the interstellar medium, compact black hole environments and active galactic nuclei to clusters of galaxies and the diffuse gas of the cosmic web.
Two main topics form the core of this course:
- The production mechanisms of thermal X-ray emission in a broad range of environments, ranging from collision-dominated plasmas to photo-ionized gas.
- Accretion processes onto compact black holes: accretion disks around supermassive black holes and the X-ray radiation in that environment.
During the course, several real-life practical examples from the most recent and ongoing work in this field will be presented. Lectures and an obligatory computer class form the core of the course. The lecture notes contain exercises that can be made at home to test the understanding of the course material. There is no homework for the computer class.
After completion of this course, you will be able to summarize various aspects of high-energy sources in the Universe.
This means that after this course you will be able to:
Classify and characterize X-ray spectra of a broad range of cosmic X-ray sources according to the dominant physical processes
Make exercises on the physical processes that contribute to X-ray emission
Quantitatively describe the structure and spectra of accretion disks in their basic form
Analyze and summarize scientific papers on X-ray emission and accretion processes
Analyze and interpret complex X-ray spectra through the experience gained from the computer course
In this course, you will be trained to:
Master a new field (high-energy astrophysics)
Plan to make exercises in due time to keep-up with the course
Analyze real data and the practical nuisances that come with real-life data
Write a report on the analysis of a real-life observation
Mode of instruction
Exercise class (obligatory computer class)
Written exam (70% of final grade), see the Astronomy master examination schedules
Report on final computer class exercise (30% of final grade)
Finishing the computer class and delivering the report is obligatory to take the written exam. For a retake exam, the results of the computer class will remain valid. No retake of the computer exercise is possible.
Lecture notes and all other course material will appear online at the homepage of the lecturer.
Lecturer: Prof.dr. J.S. (Jelle) Kaastra