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PAP320 Radiative Transfer, 5 cr 
Code PAP320  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Radiative Transfer  Abbreviation Radiative Trans 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceno
Unit Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences 

Target group 

Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences is responsible for the course.

Module where the course belongs to:

  • PAP300 Advanced Studies in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Astrophysical Sciences

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


The course does not depend on other master level courses and can be taken in the first or the second year.

The course will be offered in the autumn term, in I period. The course is lectured every other year.

Learning outcomes 
  • You will learn how the microphysical properties of the medium are linked to the macroscopic radiative transport of energy.
  • You will understand the common approximations used in the radiative transfer analysis of astronomical data.
  • You will know the implementation principles of programs that are used in astronomical radiative transfer modelling.
  • You will able to use available programs to model observations of dust and line emission.
Completion methods 

Exercises and final project work. Part of the exercises consists of programming tasks. The final project can consist either of the implementation of a simple radiative transfer program or the use of an existing programs to model an astronomical object.


Mathematics for physicists I-II. Basic programming skills are needed, in the language of your choice.

  • Radiative transfer equation
  • The local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) and large velocity gradient (LVG) approximations
  • The escape probability formalism
  • Radiative transfer for dust continuum
  • Radiative transfer for line emission
  • Monte Carlo radiative transfer
  • Improvements of the basic Monte Carlo scheme
  • Radiative transfer on parallel machines
  • Programs available for radiative transfer modelling
Study materials and literature 

Lecture notes

Supplementary reading:

  • Rybicki & Lightman: Radiative processes in Astrophysics
  • Selected research papers (links will be provided on the course website)
Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 

Weekly lectures and exercises (individual work) and a final project (individual). Total hours 130.

Assessment practices and criteria 

Final grade is based on the exercises (50%) and the final programming project (50%).


Current and future instruction
No instruction in WebOodi

Future examinations
Functions Name Type cr Teacher Schedule
Registration Radiative Transfer  General Examination  Mika Juvela 
14.08.20fri 10.00-14.00
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