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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?
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 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 2022 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) 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 and estimate basic ISM parameters (temperature, density, kinematics) based on observations.

10. Course completion methods

Weekly exercises and a final project work or a final exam (to be decided at the beginning of the course). The exercises may include simple programming tasks. The final project work can consist of a literature study or the analysis of actual observations.

11. Prerequisites

Basic course of observational astronomy II (Havaitsevan tähtitieteen peruskurssi II). Basic courses of astrophysics (Astrofysiikan peruskurssi I-II) are strongly recommended.

12. Recommended optional studies


13. Course content

The course covers the properties and physical processes in the

interstellar medium (ISM), especially in connection with star formation.

The course starts with a general description of the structure, evolution, and properties of the ISM, with an emphasis on dense molecular clouds. We will then study the interplay of gravity, turbulence, and magnetic fields that leads to the formation of dense cores within the molecular clouds and, as a result of their collapse, to the formation of new stars. The gravitational and thermal balance and the chemical evolution of the ISM along the star-formation process will also be examined. The course ends with a discussion of the observable properties of young stellar objects.

14. Recommended and required literature

Lecture notes and  Ward-Thompson & Whitworth: An introduction to star formation

Supplementary reading

  • Draine: Physics of the interstellar and intergalactic medium
  • 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 project or exam (50%).

17. Teaching language


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