• Offered by Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Naomi McClure-Griffiths
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course will not be available until 2020.

This course provides an introduction to the physical processes that underlie almost all astrophysical phenomena: radiation and fluid dynamics. The course is split evenly between those two topics, with an emphasis on basic physical processes rather than astrophysical applications. The radiation portion of the class covers the statistical mechanics of radiation fields, radiative transfer, plasma emission processes (free and synchotron radiation), and line formation. The fluid dynamics portion includes derivation of the theory of fluids from gas kinetics, calculation of flows in simple geometry, stability analysis, and supersonic flows and shocks. The overall goal is to provide a grounding in physics suitable for continuing research in astrophysics in more specialised classes at the undergraduate and post-graduate level.
This course can be taken as an HPO, please discuss with course convener.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course students will have the skills and knowledge to:
  1. Explain the physical processes of radiation emission and radiative transfer, and be able to apply these principles to solve quantitative problems using a variety of mathematical and numerical approaches;
  2. Explain the fluid approximation and its validity, and be able to solve quantitative problems in fluid mechanics;
  3. Clearly communicate the results of physical analysis in the areas of radiation and fluid dynamics;
  4. Work effectively as part of a group on problems in these areas.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • 6 problem sets (60%, LO1-4)
  • final exam (40%, LO1-3)
HPO option: written report on research project (20%, LO1-4); weight of problem sets reduced to 40%

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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3 hours of lecture and 1 hour of tutorial per week; average 5 hours per week of problem sets

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have previously completed PHYS2013 and PHYS2020 and MATH2305 and MATH2306.

Prescribed Texts

Radiative Processes in Astrophysics, by G. B. Rybicki and A. P. Lightman
The Physics of Astrophysics, Vol. II: Gas Dynamics, by F. H. Shu

Assumed Knowledge

Recommended: PHYS2016, PHYS2201


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3536 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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