an advanced course
at the Astronomy Division, University of Oulu

The course period September 29 - December 15, 2009

Teacher: Juri Poutanen, TÄ 310, ph. 5531962, juri.poutanen [at]
Assistent: Indrek Vurm, TÄ 304, ph. 5531932, indrek.vurm [at]

The course aims on giving the students basic knowledge about the physics of the interstellar medium (ISM). We will cover the main radiation processes that take place in various phases of the ISM, discuss theories of moleculae and dust formation, consider main heating and cooling processes taking place in the ISM. The students will also learn the basic physics of the photoionized regions around hot stars and active galactic nuclei as well as the physics of coronal plasmas.
In the second part of the course, the basic equation of hydrodynamics will be introduced. We then proceed to discussion of the shock waves, supernovae explosions, gamma-ray bursts, stellar winds and ionization fronts. The course ends with the theory of star formation. Theoretical considerations will be supplemented with the home exercises which constitute the important part of the course.

Main book "The Physics of the Interstellar Medium" by Dyson J. E., Williams D. A.
Supplementary books: "Interpreting Astronomical Spectra" by D. Emerson (Publisher: John Wiley and Sons); "Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei" by D.E. Osterbrock and J. Ferland
Compendium. Some of the lectures in the first part of the course are based on the lecture notes of prof. Mordecai-Mark Mac Low (American Museum of Natural History, NY).

Lectures and exercise sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in TÄ 315 at 14-16.

Compulsory problems (return by the deadline). 4 sets (=> 30 % of the final score)
[Set 1]
[Set 2]
[Set 3]
[Set 4]
Essay (5 pages) + 15 min presentation (compulsary) (20 % of final score) [Topics]
Exam (50% of the final score) [Questions]


September 29. Lecture 1: Introduction. [pdf]
October 6. Lecture 2: Radiative transfer in the interstellar medium. [pdf]
October 8. Lecture 3: Atomics and molecular physics of ISM. Chapter 2. [pdf]
October 13. Lecture 4: Cooling and heating of the ISM. Chapter 3. [pdf]
October 15. Lecture 5. Theory of ISM phases. [pdf]
October 16. Exercise session 1. (Students should be prepared to show solutions on the blackboard)
October 20. Lecture 6: Molecules and dust. Chapters 3-4. [pdf]
October 22. Lecture 7: Ionized regions. 1. Basics. Chapter 5. [pdf]
October 29. Exercise session 2.
November 5. Lecture 8: Ionized regions. 2. HII regions. [pdf]
November 10. cancelled.
November 12. Lecture 9: Ionized regions. 3. Role of heavy elements. [pdf]
November 17. Lecture 10: Introduction to gasdynamics. Shock waves. Chapter 6. [pdf]
November 19. Lecture 11: Ionization fronts. Chapter 7. [pdf]
November 24. Lecture 12: Stellar winds and supernovae. Chapter 7. [pdf]
November 26. Exercise session 3.
December 1. Lecture 13: Star formation. Chapter 8. [pdf]
December 3. Presentations of essays.
December 10. Exercise session 4.
December 18. Exam. [Questions]