FALL 2016

TTh 2:30pm-3:50pm, in ESS 450

Prof. Rosalba Perna
Office:  ESS 461 
Phone: 631-632-1558
e-mail :

Office hours:  TTh: 10am-11:00am, but I am around most of the time. Just stop by my office.

                                                                                       COURSE DESCRIPTION

The aim of this course is to provide a broad introduction to physical processes that shape the interstellar medium. The course is composed of two main parts:

Topics to be covered in Part I include:

The Radiation Field - Radiative Transfer - Atomic Transitions - Spectral Line Formation - Ionization and Recombination - Heating and Cooling of the Interstellar Medium.

Topics to be covered in Part II include:

Fluid Equations - MagnetoHydrodynamics - Shocks and Blast Waves - Accretion Processes - Instabilities - Star Formation.

NOTE: While covering the general material, I will put a lot of emphasis on applications of that material to actual problems in Astrophysics, with discussion of papers from the current literature. I will especially select topics that are at the forefront of current Astrophysical research.

There is no single textbook that covers all the topics of this class. In preparing the lectures, I'll be drawing fron a number of sources and textbooks, among which the most relevant ones are: Choudhuri: "The Physics of Fluids and Plasmas"; Rybicki & Lightman: "Radiative Processes in Astrophysics"; Spitzer: "Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium"; Osterbrook & Ferland: "Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei" "; Frank, King & Raine: "Accretion Power in Astrophysics".
I will hand out a copy of my lecture notes for all the topics that we cover.

The course grade will be based on: homeworks (30%), 2 midterms (15%, each covering one of the two broad course topics outlined above), class partecipation/discussion (15%), and a combination of a paper (20%) + presentation (20%) on a topic chosen by the student. The topic should be directly related to the material discussed in this course and should not be the main research topic of the student.