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1. Course title

Tähtien välinen aine
Det interstellära mediet
Interstellar Matter

2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53956 Tähtien välinen aine, 5 op

3. Course status: compulsory or optional

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
PAP300 Advanced studies in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences (optional for Study Track in Astrophysical Sciences)

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

The course can be taken in the first or the second year.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

The course is lectured every other year and next time in 2018 in period II.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course

Mika Juvela

9. Course learning outcomes

You will know the chemical and physical composition of the interstellar medium (ISM), both regarding its gas and dust components. You will know the principles that determine the physical state of the ISM and understand the relationships between the ISM properties and the radiation observable from the ISM. You are able to analyse astronomical data, estimating basic ISM parameters (e.g. temperature, density, ionisation state) based on observations.

10. Course completion methods

Exercises and final project work. Part of the exercises may include simple programming tasks. The final project work can be based on literature study or, alternatively, on the analysis of real data sets.

11. Prerequisites

Basic course of observational astronomy II (Havaitsevan tähtitieteen peruskurssi II). Basic course of astrophysics (Astrofysiikan peruskurssi) is strongly recommended.

12. Recommended optional studies

Radio astronomy

13. Course content

  • Physical phases of the interstellar medium
  • Excitation and ionisation processes
  • Atomic, ionised and molecular clouds
  • Interstellar dust
  • Thermal balance in interstellar clouds
  • Interstellar chemistry
  • Star formation

14. Recommended and required literature

Lecture notes

Supplementary reading

  • Draine: Physics of the interstellar and intergalactic medium
  • Ward-Thompson: An introduction to star formation
  • Selected research papers (links will be provided on the course website)

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning

Weekly lectures and exercises (individual work) and a final project (individual). Total hours 130.


16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale


Final grade is based on the exercises (50%) and the final programming project (50%).

17. Teaching language


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