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1. Course title

Radiative Transfer
Radiative Transfer

2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53852 Säteilynkuljetus, 5 op

3. Course status: 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?
PAP3001 Advanced Studies in 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 does not depend on other master level courses and can be taken in the first or the second year (course is lectured only every other year).

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

The course will be offered in the autumn term, in I period. The course is lectured every other year, next time in the autumn of 2021.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course

Mika Juvela

9. Course learning outcomes

You will learn how the microphysical properties of the medium (gas and dust) are linked to the macroscopic radiative transport of energy. You will understand the common approximations used in the radiative transfer analysis of astronomical data. You will know the implementation principles of programs commonly used in the more complete modelling of astronomical radiative transfer. You will able to use available programs to model observations of both dust and line emission.

10. Course completion methods

Exercises and final project work. The exercises include some programming tasks. The final project can consist either of the implementation of a simple radiative transfer program or the use of existing programs to model an astronomical object.

11. Prerequisites

Mathematics for physicists I-II. Basic programming skills are needed (in the language of your choice).

12. Recommended optional studies


13. Course content

The course covers the use of radiative transfer methods in the modelling of astrophysical sources. We will start by examining how the micro-physical properties of the medium - gas and dust - are linked to the interactions with radiation. We will then examine some common approximations used in numerical radiative transfer. Towards the end of the course, we will study methods for more exact radiative transfer modelling, especially with Monte Carlo simulations. The course includes practical work with existing radiative transfer software and (as part of report work) possibly even the writing of a simple radiative transfer program of one's own. The topics include: radiative transfer equation; local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE); escape-probability formalism and the large velocity gradient (LVG) approximation; radiative transfer calculations for dust continuum; radiative transfer calculations for line emission; Monte Carlo radiative transfer methods; radiative transfer on parallel machines and GPUs; software for radiative transfer modelling.

14. Recommended and required literature

Lecture notes

Supplementary reading:

  • Rybicki & Lightman: Radiative processes in Astrophysics
  • 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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