First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCN1032614, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1173, Degree course structure A.Y. 2010/11, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Physics and Astronomy
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIOVANNI CARRARO FIS/05

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses FIS/05 Astronomy and Astrophysics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2010 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
7 Commissione Astrofisica del Mezzo Interstellare 19-20 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 CARRARO GIOVANNI (Presidente)
CAVAZZANI STEFANO (Membro Effettivo)
6 Commissione Astrofisica del Mezzo Interstellare 18-19 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 CARRARO GIOVANNI (Presidente)
CAVAZZANI STEFANO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The course assumes that the students well know general physics (thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetism) and basics of atomic physics.
Target skills and knowledge: The course will give the theoretical and practical instruments to approach the physical study of the magneto-hydrodynamical and radiative processes present in the interstellar medium.
Examination methods: Oral exam possibly integrated by the presentation of a topic related to the program agreed in advance with the teacher.
Assessment criteria: Knowledge of the program, ability to express the physical concepts about the interstellar medium in a proper way, capability to extract the physical information from the spectra of gaseous nebulae.
Course unit contents: 1) Introduction.
2) Equations of hydro-dynamics, turbulence, thermal balance in the interstellar medium.
3) Shock waves, Riemann problem
4) Magneto-hydrodynamics, Alfven waves, Galactic magnetic field; generalized virial theorem; ambipolar diffusion
5) Numerical techniques for the solution of the magneto-hydrodynamic equations (Eulerian vs Lagrangian approaches).
6) General picture of the interstellar medium: HI, CO, H2, molecules.
7) Theories of star formation, Jeans criterion, sequential star formation.
8) HII regions, Stroemgren sphere.
9) Effects on the interstellar medium of stellar winds and supernovae remnants
10) Chemical enrichment of the interstellar medium: basic equations
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures and exercises on observational data. Lectures are given in Italian.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Textbooks and lecture notes written by the teacher available through the Moodle website of the course on the e-learning platform of the Department of Physics and Astronomy "G. Galilei" (
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Spitzer, Lyman, Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium. New York: J. Wiley, 1998. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Dyson, John Edward; Williams, David Arnold, Physics of the Interstellar Medium. Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1997. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)