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Principles of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

  • Addresses all aspects of fluid dynamics relevant to advanced undergraduate and starting graduate astrophysics course, at an appropriate level
  • Based on the authors' extensive experience gained when teaching this course at the University of Cambridge
  • Ties theory with astrophysical observations to convey a more intuitive understanding of the subject

By: Cathie J Clarke (Author), Bob Carswell (Author)

336 pages, 10 b/w photos, 40 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Mar 2007 | #167107 | ISBN-13: 9780521853316
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £64.99 $84/€77 approx

About this book

Fluid dynamical forces drive most of the fundamental processes in the Universe and so play a crucial role in our understanding of astrophysics. This comprehensive textbook introduces the necessary fluid dynamics to understand a wide range of astronomical phenomena, from stellar structures to supernovae blast waves, to accretion discs. The authors' approach is to introduce and derive the fundamental equations, supplemented by text that conveys a more intuitive understanding of the subject, and to emphasise the observable phenomena that rely on fluid dynamical processes. Principles of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics has been developed for use by final year undergraduate and starting graduate students of astrophysics, and contains over fifty exercises. It is based on the authors' many years of teaching their astrophysical fluid dynamics course at the University of Cambridge.


1. Introduction to concepts
2. The fluid equations
3. Gravitation
4. The energy equation
5. Hydrostatic equilibrium
6. Propagation of sound waves
7. Supersonic flows
8. Blast waves
9. Bernoulli's equation
10. Fluid instabilities
11. Viscous flows
12. Accretion disks in astrophysics
13. Plasmas

Appendix 1. Equations in curvilinear coordinates
Appendix 2. Exercises


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Cathie Clarke is Reader in Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and Director of Studies in Astrophysics at Clare College. She developed the original course in Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics as part of Part II Astrophysics in 1996 and delivered the course 1996-1999. Her research is based on accretion disc theory and star formation (both of which are strongly based on fluid dynamics) and she is the author of around 70 articles in refereed journals, plus a further 50 reviews, proceedings etc. She has taught extensively within the University of Cambridge, having also delivered lecture courses in Statistical Physics, Mathematical Methods and Galactic Dynamics, and has supervised for a variety of courses within the Physics and Mathematics Triposes.

Bob Carswell is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. He lectured the Part II Astrophysics course on Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics 2000-2003, and developed the course notes to reflect a revised syllabus to include accretion disks and some MHD concepts. He has also given courses in Relativity to both third-year and fourth-year undergraduates, as well as specialist courses on Gaseous Nebulae at the postgraduate level. His research relates to quasars, the intergalactic medium and large-scale structure.

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