Physics 610: Interstellar Matter
Fall 2015

Eric Gawiser
Serin W303
Phone: 848-445-8874
Office hours: Tuesdays 12-1PM

TF 10:20-11:40AM (5:00-6:20) in Serin W401, with make-up sessions for conference travel and hurricanes (let's hope not) on
W 12:00-1:20PM (also in Serin W401) as boldfaced below

The only required textbook is Physics of the Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium by Bruce Draine. I would also encourage you to pick up a copy of The Physics of Astrophysics, Volume II: Gas Dynamics , which will be our primary text for the Fluids & Plasmas content at the end of the semester.
I will also draw material as needed from Osterbrock & Ferland, Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei and Spitzer, Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium, and for review of material from PHY 514 Radiative Processes from Rybicki & Lightman, Radiative Processes in Astrophysics and Shu's Volume I: Radiation. Everything listed above beyond the required textbook is on reserve in the physics library.

Here's the official course catalog listing:
"Interstellar Matter. Prerequisite: 750:514, Radiative Processes, or equivalent. Properties of the interstellar and intergalactic media: molecular, neutral atomic, and plasma phases. Interstellar dust, magnetic fields, and cosmic rays. Applications of fluid mechanics: instabilities, shocks, magnetohydrodynamics. Star formation and feedback."

In general, I will try to highlight subjects that are important to areas of current research in extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology (e.g., galaxy formation, the enrichment of the intergalactic medium, and the reionization of the universe).

Both the sequence of lectures and the assignment due dates are preliminary; I will update them as needed during the course of the semester to reflect topics actually covered.

1 Sep 1 Intro; chemical composition of the ISM D 1  
2 Sep 4 Review of radiative transfer; thermal emission D 7 (RL 1)  
3 Sep 9 Free-free; synchrotron; emission lines D 6, 10 (RL 5,6)  
4 Sep 11 Absorption lines; HI 21cm emission; ionization D 3, 8 (RL 9, 10) PS1
5 Sep 16 HII regions; atomic structure D 4, 9, 15  
6 Sep 18 Recombination lines; collisional excitation D 14.2, 17, 19 PS2
7 Sep 22 Nebular emission-line diagnostics D 18  
8 Sep 25 Thermal equilibrium in ionized gas D 27 PS3
9 Sep 29 Thermal equilibrium in neutral gas; ISM phases D 30  
10 Oct 2 Interstellar dust: observations D 21 PS4
11 Oct 6 Interstellar dust: properties D 22, 23, 24  
12 Oct 9 Interstellar dust: physical processes D 25 (RL 11) PS5
13 Oct 13 Molecular spectroscopy D 5  
14 Oct 16 Molecular hydrogen D 31 PS6
15 Oct 20 Molecular clouds; PDRs and molecular chemistry D 32, 33  
16 Oct 23 Interstellar magnetic fields D 11, 21.3, 29.3 PS7
17 Oct 30 Fluid mechanics: basics D 35 PS8
18 Nov 3 Formation of individual stars D 41  
19 Nov 6 Interstellar shocks D 36 PS9
20 Nov 13 Stellar winds and supernova blast waves D 38, 39  
21 Nov 17 The three-phase model of the ISM D 1.1, 39.4  
22 Nov 20 Star formation on galaxy scales D 42 SALT Proposals
23 Dec 1 Feedback on galaxy scales --- Proposal Peer Reviews
24 Dec 2 Fluids as continuua S 1, 2 (p.37-44)  
25 Dec 4 Fluid instabilities S 6 (p.64-67), 7 (p.88-90), 8 (p.101-105), 14 (p.188-191)  
26 Dec 8 Magnetohydrodynamic waves S 15 (p.203-205), 22 (p.305-308), 26 (p.346-352), 28 Revised Proposals
27 Dec 9 Intergalactic gas; images of the ISM ---  
28 Dec 11 Simulated TAC Meeting --- Read & Grade Revised Proposals
D= Draine, S = Shu Vol.2, RL=Rybicki & Lightman

Your course grade will be based on a weighted combination of three elements:

Problem sets will be posted on Sakai (almost) every Friday and submitted into my mailbox by 4PM the following Friday (PDFs can be emailed to me in case of travel or emergency). They will include three types of exercises: straightforward examples or extensions of material discussed in lecture; more involved applications to areas of current research (see above), which may encompass some computational work; and true/false questions that simulate the challenge of refereeing a journal paper.

Other items

Last updated December 2, 2015.