Astronomy 253 is a graduate course at Harvard on plasma physics as applied to astrophysical phenomena. Topics include particle motions and drifts; magnetohydrodynamics (MHD); MHD waves, shocks, and instabilities; accretion disks and jets; collisionless plasmas and kinetic theory; collisions and transport; MHD turbulence; energetic particles and cosmic rays; computational methods for plasma astrophysics; astrophysical dynamos; magnetic reconnection; space weather; and partially ionized plasmas. This course is not being offered in the 2017-2018 academic year.
Steve Cranmer and I proposed, developed, and co-taught Astronomy 253 in 2014. Prior to this, there had not been a graduate course at Harvard covering plasma astrophysics in depth for many years. Xuening Bai and I co-taught this course in 2016, with guest lectures from Blakesley Burkhart on plasma turbulence and Lorenzo Sironi on particle-in-cell simulations. This website contains materials developed for my half of this course. Materials for the other half of this course may be accessed using Xuening Bai's teaching page.
Conservation Laws in Ideal MHD
The Virial Theorem, MHD Equilibria, and Force-Free Fields
Beyond Ideal MHD
Reduced MHD and Magnetic Field Diagnostics
Cosmic Rays and Particle Acceleration
Partially Ionized Plasmas, Non-Equilibrium Ionization, and Final Thoughts for Course