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Radio astronomy and the Interstellar Medium

Credit 0.125 EFTSL
ICRAR Node University of Western Australia
Unit Code Enrol at UWA in PHYS5514
Offering Semester 1
UWA Handbook PHYS5514 for the most up-to-date information.
In this unit students learn about the various constituents and physical processes taking place in the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies, and how to use radio telescopes to detect the gas reservoirs out of which new stars are made. Upon completion of this unit, students should gain a broad knowledge of the physics of the ISM and should be able to read and understand current research papers on the topics of ISM and star formation. In addition, students should be able to carry out the end-to-end process of planning radio astronomy observations, implementing them, reducing raw telescope data, and analysing the resulting products to derive the basic physical properties of the gas reservoirs of galaxies.
Learning Outcomes
Students are able to (1) explain the physical principles underlying observational radio astronomy techniques; (2) explain how the various constituents of the interstellar medium interact physically with each other and connect with star formation in galaxies; (3) reduce radio observations of extragalactic sources; (4) critically evaluate recent astronomy and astrophysics research literature; and (5) apply critical thinking skills to a range of realistic physical situations, with particular emphasis on planning observations and reducing data.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) laboratory report; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.
Unit Coordinator(s)
  1. Radio Astronomy: Martin Meyer
  2. Interstellar Medium: Barbara Catinella