Astrophysical Processes (902F3)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module covers:

  • Basic properties of interstellar medium and intergalactic medium
  • Radiative transfer
  • Emission and absorption lines, line shapes
  • Hyperfine transitions, 21-cm line of hydrogen
  • Gunn-Peterson effect, Lyman-alpha forest, Damped Lyman Alpha systems
  • Radiative heating and cooling processes
  • Compton heating/cooling, Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect
  • Emission by accelerating changes, retarded potentials, thermal bremstrahlung
  • Applications of Special Relativity in Astrophysics, relativistic beaming
  • Plasma effects, Faraday rotation, Synchrotron emission
  • HII regions, re-ionization

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the courses, you should be able to:

  • Understand qualitatively the key physical phenomena occurring in the interstellar and intergalactic media and achieve basic familiarity with the relevant physical processes.
  • Receive some initial exposure to the scientific research methods and current scientific literature, be able to critically read and summarize papers.
  • Be able solve simple physical problems in the areas covered by the course.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. The structure of some courses means that the modules you choose first may determine whether later modules are core or optional.


This module is offered on the following courses: