ASTR 300B      Radiation & Matter

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MWF 2-3 EDUC 432
Spring 2017

Dr. Yancy Shirley
office : N310
phone: (520) 626-3666
email: yshirley
Office Hours: M 1-2,Tu 2-3,W 3-4,
Th 2:30-3:30,F 1-2

credit: Adam Block/Mnt Lemmon Sky Center

Class Syllabus

      ASTR 300B is a class studying the physical processes that emit, absorb, and scatter light in the context of the physics of the interstellar medium. In this class you will learn radiative transfer in one dimension, learn the fundamental physics of thermal and non-thermal emission processes in the interstellar medium, and learn the basics of atomic and molecular spectroscopy. Topic we shall cover in this class include: continuum emission processes due to dust emission and absorption, free-free emission, and synchrotron emission; atomic ionization and recombination and electronic bound-bound transitions; statistical mechanics (Boltzmann Equation) and equilibrium; and molecular rotational, vibrational, and electronic transitions. It is expected that you have completed or are currently taking PHYS 331 (E&M I) and PHYS 371 (Quantum Mechanics I). The two reference textbooks for the course are Astrophysics – Decoding the Cosmos by Judith A. Irwin and Physics of the Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium by Bruce Draine. Both books are available as e-books.


Date Homework Topic Reading/References
W Jan 11 Introduction
F Jan 13 Homework 1 ISM Overview Draine Ch. 1
M Jan 16 Martin Luther King Day
W Jan 18 Homework 2 Specific Intensity, Flux Density, & Flux Irwin 1.1-1.3
F Jan 20 Homework 3 Emergent Flux Density Irwin 1.6
(slides) (board)
M Jan 23 Homework 4,5 Energy Density Irwin 1.4
W Jan 25 Homework 6,7 Blakcbody Radiation Irwin Ch. 4
Integrate Planck
F Jan 27 Homework 8,9 1D Radiative Transfer Irwin Ch. 6
M Jan 30 Homework 10,11 Limits of Radiative Transfer Equation Draine Ch 7.1,7.2,7.4
W Feb 01 Homework 12,13 Optical Depth Irwin 5.4.1 (see Table 5.1)
F Feb 03 Homework 14 Dust Properties & Composition Irwin Ch. 3.5, Draine 23.1-23.5
M Feb 06 Homework 15,16 Dust Absorption Irwin Ch. 5.5, Draine 22.1-22.2
(slides) (board)
W Feb 08 Homework 17,18 Extinction Laws Draine 21.1-21.2
(slides) (board)
F Feb 10 Homework 19 Dust Emission
(slides) (board)
M Feb 13 Homework 20,21 Dust Mass
W Feb 15 Homework 22 Dust Temperature Draine Ch. 24
(slides) (board)
F Feb 17 Homework 23 Dust SEDs
M Feb 20 Thermal Free-free Emission Irwin Ch 8.1-8.2
(slides) (board)
F Feb 24 Homework 24 Free-free SEDs Draine 10.1- 10.5
M Feb 27 Homework 25,26 Synchrotron Irwin Ch 8.5-8.6
(slides) (board)
W Mar 01 Homework 27,28 Photoionization & Recombination Irwin Ch 5.2, Ch 9.4.1-9.4.2
(slides) (board)
F Mar 03 Homework 29 HII Regions
M Mar 06 Homework 30,31 Hydrogen Atom Bound-Bound Transitions Irwin Appendix C
Atomic Transition Probabilities
(slides) (board)
W Mar 08 Hydrogen Recombination Spectrum Draine 14.2 - 14.2.3
(slides) (board)
M Mar 20 Homework 32 Boltzmann Equation Irwin Ch 3.4.4-3.4.5
Boltzmann Distribution
Derivation of Milne Relation
(slides) (board)