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PHY8052 : Compact Objects and Accretion

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Anne Archibald
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module will use a wide range of topics from basic physics to develop a quantitative understanding of compact objects – white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes – and accretion onto them. The emphasis will be on physical concepts, the physical meaning of the underlying equations and the power of making order-of-magnitude estimates.

Outline Of Syllabus

Structure and formation of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. Binary orbits, binary evolution, and accretion onto compact objects. Observational evidence for these phenomena and limits of our models.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Formal lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion371:0037:00Completion of in course assignments/ examination revision
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study411:0041:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M10N/A
Prob solv exercises1M10N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists