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Astrophysical Radiation Processes

Radiation of all types from a variety of sources permeates all parts of the Universe and is one of the most fundamental messengers we have to understand the Universe. In this course, we will study the physical processes that give rise to the most common types of astrophysical radiation and how to use it to learn about the objects that emit it.

Cloudlets swarm around SMBH
Cloudlets swarm around the Milky way galaxy's supermassive black hole , a source of synchrotron radiation. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/ J. R. Goicoechea (Instituto de Física Fundamental, CSIC, Spain)

In this course, you will learn in depth about the processes that emit radiation in our Universe.  This includes thermal emission from stars, and non-thermal emission, from supernova remnants and active galactic nuclei. Many of these processes are applications of quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and special relativity, seeing these realized in astrophysical contexts will help you solidify this physics. Throughout the course we will have plenty of exercises and problems directly using what we learn to explain astrophysical observations.

  • Course structure

    The course is given during day time at the 50% level. It is part of the Master’s programme in Astronomy. The course is normally given in English.

    Teaching format

    The course includes video lectures, in-class exercises and group work, and laboratory assignments with an associated report.


    Examination is done in three main ways.

    1. During the course, weekly exercises are assigned and graded to give formative assessment to the students on their understanding.
    2. The laboratory section of the course involves passing in a written report on the laboratory assignment.
    3. A final written exam is used as a summative assessment of the content and knowledge of the learning outcomes of the course.




    Evan O’Connor

  • 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.

    Radiative Processes in Astrophysics  by George B. Rybicki and Alan P. Lightman,Wiley-VCH.

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via