A concise yet comprehensive introduction to the central theoretical concepts of modern astrophysics, presenting hydrodynamics, radiation, and stellar dynamics all in one textbook. Adopting a modular structure, the authors illustrate a small number of fundamental physical methods and principles, which are sufficient to describe and understand a wide range of seemingly very diverse astrophysical phenomena and processes. For example, the formulae that define the macroscopic behavior of stellar systems are all derived in the same way from the microscopic distribution function. This function itself may be obtained from fundamental kinetic theory, and it is a discussion of these relations that constitutes the second chapter of Theoretical Astrophysics: An Introduction.
The concept of distribution functions and Boltzmann's equation is defined, while the equilibrium distribution function for ideal gases is calculated, followed by a discussion of small perturbations and their relaxation back to the equilibrium state. Finally, the authors show that macroscopic quantities are usually associated with moments of the distribution function and derive their evolutionary equations. Aimed at students at graduate level and lecturers teaching courses in Theoretical Astrophysics or advanced topics in modern astronomy, Theoretical Astrophysics: An Introduction with its abundant examples and exercises also serves as a reference and entry point for more advanced researchers wanting to update their knowledge of the physical processes that govern the behavior and evolution of astronomical objects.
1. Theoretical Foundations
2. Radiation Processes
4. Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics
5. Stellar Dynamics
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Matthias Bartelmann is professor of theoretical astrophysics at Heidelberg University since 2003. He studied physics and astronomy at Munich University and obtained his PhD in 1992, for which he received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society. He was a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching and at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
He received the Ludwig Biermann Prize of the German Astronomical Society in 1996 and became a lecturer in astronomy at Munich University in 1998. Between 1998 and 2003, he built up and led the German scientific contribution to the Planck satellite mission. He acted as the dean of the department of physics and astronomy at Heidelberg University from 2006-2008.
Matthias Bartelmann's research interests are centered on structure formation in the Universe, in particular the study of the dark-matter distribution by means of gravitational lensing and probes of non-linear evolution, the problem of dark energy and the physics of the cosmic microwave background.