Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Astrophysical jets

(supervisor: Youra Taroyan)

Nature of project: theory, software

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

Astrophysical jets are ubiquitous phenomena in the universe. These collimated supersonic outflows emerge from various objects such as the nuclei of active galaxies, neutron stars, and stellar mass black holes. Associated with the jet phenomena are the powerful gamma ray bursts discovered a few decades ago at cosmological distances. Astrophysical jets may sometimes exceed millions of parsecs in length. The project will review the origin and the structure of the jets, the different possible mechanisms for their generation proposed over the past few decades.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The destabilisation of the jets by the mechanism of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability will be investigated numerically. An open source code to carry out the numerical simulations and to visualise the results will be provided. The effects of the magnetic field will be dicsussed.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: The mechanism of jet destabilisation will be investigated analytically using the assumption of incompressibility. The role of the magnetic field will be determined from the derived formulae.

Please speak to Youra Taroyan (yot) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Michael Smith, Astrophysical Jets and Beams, Cambridge University Press, 2012
  2. Blandford, R. D. and Znajek, R. L. 1977.
  3. Semenov, V., Dyadechkin, S., Punsly, B. 2004.

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

Assistance will be provided with setting up and running the simulations.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
The main properties of astrophysical jetsend of October
Different mechanisms for their accelerationChristmas
Numerical investigation of jet destabilisationend of February
Overview of the resultsEaster