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Astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics

In this course you will learn about flows of neutral fluids and plasma in astrophysics.

Supermassive black hole with torn-apart star (artist’s impression)
Supermassive black hole with torn-apart star (artist’s impression). Image credit: ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

You will study the dynamics of magnetised gases, also known as the theory of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). Such magnetised flows are common in astrophysics, for example in the Sun and the solar wind, but also in accretion disks around stars, and in the interstellar medium. Through the course you will explore the basic equations of MHD, the different types of waves and instabilities which occur in such flows, turbulence and the dynamo effect in which magnetised flows amplify their magnetic fields. You will also apply these concepts  to the Sun and other astrophysical systems.


  • Course structure

    The course is given during day time, at 50% pace. It is part of the Master’s program in Astronomy, but can also be taken as a free-standing course. The course is normally given in English.


    Teaching format

    Blackboard lectures and tutorials.


    Dhrubaditya Mitra. Correspondence via the course page in Athena.


    Short quizzes in class, homework and a final written exam. The final exam may be an open-book or a take-home exam.



    Garrelt Mellema


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    The Physics of Fluids and Plasmas: An Introduction for Astrophysicists,
    By Arnab Rai Choudhuri
    Publisher:Cambridge University Press

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via