Fluid Dynamics for Astrophysics

By Prof. Prasad Subramanian   |   IISER Pune
Learners enrolled: 872
This course provides a broad overview of fluid phenomena in Astrophysics. The first few weeks cover the basics of fluid dynamics, with an emphasis on compressible phenomena. These basic concepts will be applied in understanding astrophysical phenomena ranging from the solar wind to black hole accretion disks. Magnetic fields are often important in astrophysical situations - we therefore treat the basics of magnetohydrodynamics and use it to understand astrophysical dynamos and jets. Students of this course will be equipped with the basics needed for understanding the research literature in several areas in astrophysics.

PREREQUISITES : Participants should have a good grounding in classical mechanics, electrodynamics, kinetic theory of gases. Some exposure to Astrophysics would be good, but not essential
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Physics
Credit Points : 3
Level : Postgraduate
Start Date : 24 Jan 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Enrollment Ends : 07 Feb 2022
Exam Date : 24 Apr 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1:Introduction to the goals of the course. The continuum hypothesis
Week 2:Kinematics, conservation laws 1: the mass continuity equation
Week 3: Conservation laws 2: the momentum continuity equation
Week 4:Dimensionless numbers in fluid dynamics
Week 5:Dynamic similarity in fluid dynamics and aerodynamics
Week 6:Compressible flows and the speed of sound
Week 7: An introduction to shocks
Week 8:Applications to Astrophysics: transonic flows – spherical accretion and he solar wind
Week 9:Applications to Astrophysics: the de Laval nozzle, astrophysical jets
Week 10:Applications to Astrophysics: Accretion disks
Week 11: Including magnetic fields – basics of magnetohydrodynamics
Week 12:Magnetohydrodynamic phenomena in Astrophysics: dynamos, magnetized jets

Books and references

1) Fluid Dynamics: Kundu and Cohen, Academic Press
2) Fluid Mechanics: Landau and Lifshitz, Butterworth and Heinemann
3) The physics of fluids and plasmas: an introduction for astrophysicists – Arnab Rai Choudhuri, Cambridge University Press

Instructor bio

Prof. Prasad Subramanian

Prasad Subramanian is a professor of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune. He has been regularly teaching courses in electrodynamics, fluid dynamics, plasma physics and physical processes in Astrophysics over the last 10 years. He studies the effects of eruptive phenomena in the solar corona on the near-Earth space environment. He is also interested in the manner in which astrophysical black holes attract matter from their surroundings and release energy in the process.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 April 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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