Welcome to the homepage of the Binary Stars course (astro 8501 / 6944) in the summer semester 2013, part of the Master in Astrophysics. The course provides four exciting credit points. The classes will be held on Thursdays at 9am in room 0.008 at the AIfA (start date to be confirmed). Please see the timetable.
Exercise classes are given by Dominique Meyer on Wednesday afternoons, 3.30pm in room 3.010 (third floor seminar room at AIfA). Your attendance at the exercise class is mandatory: without attendance you will not be entered for the exam (which may be oral or written: to be decided).
The classes are a mixture of computer presentations (slides) and blackboard work. You are expected to take your own notes, to complain if I go too fast and to ask pertinent questions.
The class timetable, together with resources such as exercise sheets and (some) slides, are available here. Please use the lecture feedback page : the login code will be given out in the class.
Most stars in our Galaxy are gravitationally bound in binary star systems. Many of these are close enough to each other to interact at some point in their lives with consequences that include the formation of X-ray binaries, millisecond pulsars, thermonuclear novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.
This course will start by introducing the many types of observed binary-star system. A discourse on orbital dynamics will lead into issues of gravitational interaction such as tides. In the most extreme case this leads to mass-transfer between the components of the binary star. The stability of mass transfer is crucial to understanding, for example, the origin of type Ia supernovae.
A unique aspect of this course will be the study of populations of binary stars. These include chemically peculiar stars which are keys to understanding both stellar physics and the evolution of our Galaxy.
You can find some links to online binary-star resources here
Interacting Binary Stars (J.E.Pringle and R.A.Wade; Cambridge University Press) ISBN 0-521-26608-4. This excellent book is sadly out of print, but copies can be found e.g. on Amazon and it is in the AIfA library at 12.13.12-14.
An Introduction to Close Binary Stars (R.W.Hilditch; Cambridge University Press) ISBN 0-521-79800-0 Amazon.co.uk also in the AIfA library at 12.13.00-27.
Evolutionary Processes in Binary and Multiple Stars (P.P.Eggleton; Cambridge University Press) ISBN-10 0-521-85557-8 / ISBN-13 978-0-521-85557-0. Amazon.co.uk sadly not in the AIfA library.
Please note: other booksellers are available!
Binary Stars astro8501 6944 course timetable: Summer Term 2013
I will be away during the first week of the semester classes start 18/04/2013