Physics of Compact Objects


Content, progress and pedagogy of the module

A general introduction to the physics of compact objects (black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs) and binary interactions. We introduce the theory of degenerate Fermi gases and apply it to simple equations-of-states for white dwarfs and neutron stars. We investigate the structure, cooling and evolution of white dwarfs and neutron stars and compare with observational properties. We analyse the spin of black holes and the formation, evolution and detection of X-ray binaries. Finally, we discuss gravitational waves and the nature of the LIGO detections of binary mergers.

Learning objectives


  • Structure and evolution of compact objects.
  • Basic methods for detecting compact objects.
  • Current ideas on their formation and binary interactions.


  • Apply simple physical models to derive and discuss qualitative and quantitative aspects of various phenomena and processes related to the nature of compact objects.


  • Compare and discuss analytical and numerical models with recent observational data.
  • Exemplify recent discoveries of research articles related to this topic.

Type of instruction

Lectures and exercises.

Extent and expected workload

150 hours



Name of examPhysics of Compact Objects
Type of exam
Written or oral exam
Assessment7-point grading scale
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleKompakte objekters fysik
Module codeM-FYS-K3-2
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Empty-place SchemeYes
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg
Responsible for the module


Education ownerMaster of Science (MSc) in Physics
Study BoardStudy Board of Mechanical Engineering and Physics
DepartmentDepartment of Materials and Production
FacultyThe Faculty of Engineering and Science