Essential Magnetohydrodynamics for Astrophysics
This text is intended as an introduction to magnetohydrodynamics in astrophysics, emphasizing a fast path to the elements essential for physical understanding. It assumes experience with concepts from fluid mechanics: the fluid equation of motion and the Lagrangian and Eulerian descriptions of fluid flow. In addition, the basics of vector calculus and elementary special relativity are needed. Not much knowledge of electromagnetic theory is required. In fact, since MHD is much closer in spirit to fluid mechanics than to electromagnetism, an important part of the learning curve is to overcome intuitions based on the vacuum electrodynamics of one's high school days. The first chapter (only 36 pp) is meant as a practical introduction including exercises. This is the `essential' part. The exercises are important as illustrations of the points made in the text (especially the less intuitive ones). Almost all are mathematically unchallenging. The supplement in chapter 2 contains further explanations, more specialized topics and connections to the occasional topic somewhat outside MHD. The emphasis is on physical understanding by the visualization of MHD processes, as opposed to more formal approaches.