Robert Izzard's Pages of Astronomical Happiness

  Teaching • Binary Stars

I am no longer teaching at Uni-Bonn. The following information remains purely for the curious.

Welcome to the homepage of the Binary Stars course (astro 8501 / 6944) in the summer semester 2014, part of the Master in Astrophysics at the University of Bonn.

Course Information
  • The course provides four credit points. The classes will be held on Thursdays at 9am (c.t.) in room 0.008 at the AIfA. Please see the timetable.
  • Exercise classes are given by Sutirtha Sengupta nominally on Tuesday mornings (11.30am in 3.010) and Nicolas Gonzalez-Jimenez on Wednesday mornings (11.15am in 3.010). Please contact them directly to confirm your attendance. Your attendance at the exercise classes is highly recommended: the exam questions will be based on the lectures and the exercise work.
  • 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.

Student feedback
Previously students have described the course as "good, many blackboard lectures, interesting lectures".

You might also be interested in Bachelor and Masters projects that I offer.

Course Abstract
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.
Literature and resources
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 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. sadly not in the AIfA library.

Please note: other booksellers are available!

Binary Stars astro8501 6944 course timetable: Summer Term 2014
Note: files are only available to download from within Uni-Bonn.
Class Date Slides Problems Extras?
1 10/04/2014 Slides 4.1MB PDF
Printable Handout 12MB PDF
104KB PDF Solution to Q5:
Perl script
Data file
2 17/04/2014 Slides 1.0MB - Printable handout 13MB Problems 56KB
3 24/04/2014 Slides 1.3MB- Printable Handout 2.8MB Problems 36KB Notes on the Convective Turnover Timescale
4 08/05/2014 Slides 1.5MB - Printable handout 2.2MB Problems 207KB Examples class 3.
5 15/05/2014 Slides 974KB PDF - Printable handout 1.7MB PDF Problems 161KB Examples class 4.
5a - Herbert Lau 22/05/2014 Slides 1.9MB - Printable handout 7.1MB PDF Problems 161KB
6 05/06/2014 Slides 1.2MB PDF - Printable handout 1.8MB PDF Problems 35KB PDF Examples class 5
7 26/06/2014 Slides 1014KB PDF - Printable handout 2.8MB PDF Problems 41KB PDF Examples class 6.
8 03/07/2014 Slides 2.0MB PDF - Printable handout 2.5MB PDF Problems 97KB PDF Examples class 7.
9 10/07/2014 Slides 1.7MB PDF - Printable handout 3.2MB PDF Problems 117KB PDF Examples class 8.
10am-12pm Saturday 26th July Examination AIfA room 0.008 (same as lectures).
10am-12pm Thursday 2nd October Examination AIfA room 3.010 (third floor seminar room).
I will arrive a few minutes early to open the front door. You may bring coffee to the exam but it is "closed book" i.e. just you, a pen and paper.


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