• Class Number 2929
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Luca Casagrande
    • Dr Ling Sun
    • AsPr Luca Casagrande
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

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:

  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.

Radiative Processes in Astrophysics, by G. B. Rybicki and A. P. Lightman (Weeks 1 - 8)

Principles of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, by C. Clarke & B. Carswell (Weeks 9 - 12)

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

An Honours Pathway Option is available in this course. Please contact the course convener for more details.

Written report on research project (20%); weight of problem sets reduced to 40%.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Radiative transfer, absorption, and emission
2 Blackbody radiation, Radiation as EM waves
3 Polarization & Scattering Problem Set 1 due
4 Dispersion & Faraday Rotation
5 Radiative Processes: Free-free radiation & relativity
6 Synchrotron radiation, Intro to spectral lines Problem Set 2 due
7 Atomic structure and radiative transitions
8 Einstein’s coefficients and line shapes
9 Continuum equations of fluid mechanics, closure relations Problem Set 3 due
10 Inviscid barotropic flows; stability analysis
11 Shocks & Rankine-Hugoniot conditions
12 Blast Waves Problem Set 4 due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Problem sets 60 % 1,2,3,4
End of Semester exam 30 % 1,2,3
Group paper presentation 10 % 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


The course is presented in "flipped" format, which includes watching pre-recorded lectures and taking on-line quizzes before class and participating in required group-based active learning workshops. Participation in the workshops either in person or online is compulsory. Remote adjustments only for participants with unavoidable travel restrictions/visa delays.


Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date for mid-semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and the date official end of Semester results are released on ISIS. Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 60 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Problem sets

Problem sets will cover material presented and discussed in class during the two/three weeks preceding the due dates. The due dates are:

Set 1 due: 2023-03-07

Set 2 due: 2023-03-28

Set 3 due: 2023-05-02

Set 4 due: 2023-05-23

There are 4 problem sets due over the semester. It is intended that the marked problem sets will be returned within 2 weeks after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

End of Semester exam

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Group paper presentation

You will have one group-based assignment to present an astrophysics research paper to the class as a "journal club" in which your group leads a discussion of the findings of the paper. The paper will apply one of the concepts presented in the material to an astrophysical research context. The lecturer will work with you to select an appropriate research paper. The presentations will be scattered throughout the term.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Luca Casagrande

Research Interests

Stellar parameters, photometry, spectroscopy, resolved stellar populations, Galactic chemical evolution, Galactic archaeology

AsPr Luca Casagrande

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Ling Sun

Research Interests

Dr Ling Sun

By Appointment
AsPr Luca Casagrande

Research Interests

AsPr Luca Casagrande

By Appointment
By Appointment

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