Introduction to Radiative Processes in Astrophysics

SS 2018


Time & Dates

Thursdays 14:00-15:30 in the USM lecture hall. Weekly between 12.04.2018 and 12.07.2018

There will be no lectures or exercises on:

  • 10.05.2018 (public holiday)
  • 31.05.2018 (public holiday)


To sign up for the lecture and receive any updates or announcements via email, please fill out the sign-up form:

Sign-up form



The lecture will give an introduction to radiative processes and radiation transport. While most of the introduction is of general kind, the specific applications will focus on transport processes in stellar or planetary atmospheres and planet-forming disks.

Topics covered in the lecture will include:

  • Radiative transfer quantities
  • The transfer equation and its solutions
  • Introduction to numerical radiative transfer methods
  • Opacities and line transfer
  • Radiative processes

Lecture slides will be posted shortly after the lecture.

Lecture Slides


  • 30.5.2018: fixed minor typos in the doppler broadening part in Lecture 4.

Date Lecture
12.04. Introduction: Motivation, Intensity, Flux
19.04. Radiative Quantities
26.04. Radiative Transfer
03.05. Lines and Continua
17.05. Lines, Thermodynamics, analytical RT
24.05. Analytical Radiative Transfer, Eddington Approximation, Limb Darkening
31.05. No Lecture - Public Holiday
07.06. Guest Lecture by Prof. Rolf Kudritzki on Stellar Spectroscopy
14.06. Scattering processes I and radiative diffusion
21.06. No Lecture: students away
28.06. Scattering II, opacities, numerical methods
05.07. Mie opacities, Monte Carlo Methods
12.07. EXAM


The tutorials will consist of both the usual written exercises but also numerical exercises. A computing environment will be provided.

Exercises are taking place at the University Observatory on Fridays, 10:15am in the Roof Seminar Room.

The exercise sheets will be posted here for download after the lectures.


  • Tutorial 4: there was a typo in the pressure definition, it should be \(P = \rho\,c_\mathrm{s}^2\)


Exercises take place weekly between 19.10.2018 and 12.07.2018.

Tutorial Due date Exercise Sheet
#0 April 20

numerical setup, no points

#1 April 27
#2 May 4 Download
#3 May 18
#4 May 25
#5 June 8
#6 June 15
#7 June 22
#8 July 06


Time & Place:

The exam will take place on July 12, at 2-4pm in the Seminar Room.

What to bring:

Only, pens and calculator will be allowed/needed.

What to expect:

  • 9 questions
  • 32 points
  • formulas & quantities at the end
  • ≥ 50% (≥ 16 points) to pass


The following sheet will be on the last page of the exam and contain the most important formulae used in the lectures and exercises. Download Formula Sheet