• 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
    • AsPr Luca Casagrande
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. 6 problem sets (60) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. final exam (40) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. HPO option: written report on research project (20%, LO1-4); weight of problem sets reduced to 40% (null) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 2 x 2 hour lectorials per week (48 hours per semester).
  • Approximately 82 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have previously completed PHYS2013, PHYS2020 and MATH2305. Incompatible with ASTR6013.

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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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
2692 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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