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- Radiative transfer: fundamental equations and optical depth; thermal radiation and local thermodynamic equilibrium; spectral lines and broadening mechanisms; scattering (Mie and Rayleigh); application to the interstellar medium.
- Ionisation losses and bremsstrahlung: radiation from an accelerated charge; thermal bremsstrahlung; bremsstrahlung self-absorption; applications to astrophysical systems (e.g., galaxy clusters).
- Synchrotron emission: theory; spectrum; polarization; Faraday rotation; synchrotron self-absorption; applications to astrophysical systems (e.g., radio galaxies).
- High energy photon interactions: inverse Compton radiation; Thomson scattering; theory; astrophysical applications (e.g., the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, cosmic rays).
- Black holes and accretion phenomena: application to active galactic nuclei, compact stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars/pulsars); observational evidence.
- Telescopes and detectors at gamma ray, X-ray, UV, IR, sub-mm, and radio wavelengths.
- Radio interferometry: visibilities; aperture synthesis.
After completing this module students are expected to be able to:
- Apply the radiative transfer equation to astrophysical systems and perform simple calculations.
- Describe the physics of bremsstrahlung, synchrotron, and inverse Compton radiation, and derive estimates of the associated physical properties of observed astrophysical systems.
- Explain the physical principles behind telescopes and detectors at non-visible wavelengths, and discuss their application to observations of astrophysical systems.
- Understand the physical processes that arise in high energy astrophysical sources and model them.
- Understand and apply the basic principles of radio interferometry to observational data to derive physical properties of high energy astrophysical sources (e.g., radio galaxies, supernovae remnants, pulsars).