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Stellar Atmospheres

  • 7.5 credits

In this course you will study the physics of stellar atmospheres. You will learn about the formation of spectral lines and run and study your own computer simulation of the atmosphere of the Sun.

Information for admitted students Autumn 2020

Congratulations! You have been admitted at Stockholm University and we hope that you will enjoy your studies with us.

In order to ensure that your studies begin as smoothly as possible we have compiled a short checklist for the beginning of the semester.

Follow the instructions on wether you have to reply to your offer or not.


Checklist for admitted students

  1. Activate your university account

    The first step in being able to register and gain access to all the university's IT services.

  2. Register at your department

    Registration can be done in different ways. Read the instructions from your department below.

  3. Read all the information on this page

    Here you will find what you need to know before your course or programme starts.


Your seat may be withdrawn if you do not register according to the instructions provided by your department.

Information from the department - courses

Everyone admitted to a course at the Department of Astronomy will receive a welcome letter with important information via e-mail. If you have not receive the mail by the beginning of August, please contact our study advisor!


Courses at the Department of Astronomy do not have a roll-call. Instead the course starts with the first lecture.


After being admitted to a course, you must register to confirm that you are starting your studies. For most of our courses this can be done online using your university account. Registration normally opens two weeks before the course starts and you must have registered at the latest one week after the first lecture. If you have any problems with registration, contact our student office. Contact details can be found below.

Click here to register online.

Learning platform

All courses at our department use the Athena learning platform. Once registered, the course should appear automatically in Athena. If you cannot find the course, contact the course coordinator.

Conditionally admitted

If you are conditionally admitted to a course at our department you need to contact our study advisor before you can register. Contact us as soon as possible, well before the course starts. Contact details are found further down on this web page.

Applicants on waiting list

Are you placed on a waiting list to any of our courses? You will always be contacted by e-mail if you  are offered a place. Normaly we will not admit new students if more than 1 week has passed after the firsts lecture.

Find the Departmend of Astronomy

All our courses are held in the AlbaNova building, located between the Frescati campus and the Royal Institute of Technology (Tekniska högskolan, KTH).

Find AlbaNova.

Education during autumn 2020

Most courses at the Department of Astronomy which starts during the first period of the autumn semester will have lectures given online while practical elements (e.g., laboratory exercises) and examination take place on campus.

Click here to read more about the education during autumn 2020.

More specific deatalis regarding this course can be found in the schedule or on the course page in the Athena learning platform. If you have questions you can contact the course coordinator; contact details are found further down on this web page.

Welcome activities

Stockholm University organises a series of welcome activities that stretch over a few weeks at the beginning of each semester. The programme is voluntary (attendance is optional) and includes Arrival Service at the airport and an Orientation Day, see more details about these events below.
Your department may also organise activities for welcoming international students. More information will be provided by your specific department. 

Find your way on campus

Stockholm University's main campus is in the Frescati area, north of the city centre. While most of our departments and offices are located here, there are also campus areas in other parts of the city.

Find your way on campus

Read more

New student

During your studies

Student unions

For new international students

Pre-departure information

New in Sweden

Cool layer in a Sun-like star
Cool layer in a Sun-like star. Image credit: ESA

During the first part of the course you will build on the concepts taught during the bachelor course Astrophysical Spectra (or equivalent) and study how spectral lines and continua are formed in stellar atmospheres. Particular attention will be given to the concept of scattering. You will apply the theory to write a computer program that can solve radiative transfer problems that involve scattering. In the second part of the course you will learn about modern radiation-magnetohydrodynamical simulations of stellar atmospheres. You will perform a simulation with an existing stellar atmosphere code, analyse the resulting atmosphere model, and use the code developed in the first part of the course to compute how light escapes from the model.


  • Course structure

    The course is given during day time, and is part of the Master’s programme in Astronomy. The course is given in English.


    Teaching format

    Instruction is given in the form of lectures, pencil-and-paper exercise classes as well as an extensive set of computer exercises. Participation in the computer exercises is mandatory.


    Jorrit Leenaarts

    Additional teacher

    Sanja Danilovic.


    A written individual report about the computer exercises and a written exam at the end of the course.



    Jorrit Leenaarts


  • 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 Transfer in Stellar Atmospheres, 2003 by Robert J. Rutten, see

    Hand outs provided during the course.

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via