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Durham University

Department of Physics

PHYS4161 Advanced Astrophysics (2018/19)

Details of the module's prerequisites, learning outcomes, assessment and contact hours are given in the official module description in the Faculty Handbook - follow the link above. A detailed description of the module's content is given below, together with book lists and a link to the current library catalogue entries. For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see


Astronomical Techniques and Advanced Imaging

Dr R.W. Wilson

18 lectures in Michaelmas Term


Additional: Astrophysical Techniques, C. R. Kitchin (CRC Press, 5th Edition)

Syllabus: Introduction to astronomical techniques, review of optical theory, propagation of light through the atmosphere, adaptive optics, interferometry, spectroscopy. The material is illustrated through examples from the field of exoplanet detection and characterisation.

Radiative Processes in Astrophysics

Prof A.C. Edge

18 lectures in Epiphany Term


Additonal: Radiative Processes in Astrophysics, G. B. Rybicki and A. P. Lightman

Syllabus: Review of radiative transfer, accelerated charges, Compton processes, synchrotron and Bremsstrahlung, photoionisation/recombination, line formation, abundances, dust, plasma effect, RM and group velocity.


2 lectures in Easter Term, one by each lecturer.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 2 one-hour lectures per week

Problem exercises: See