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York University
Faculty of Science
Department of Physics and Astronomy

PHYS 6211 1.0 F17/18
The universe at radio wavelengths








Course Description: Radio radiation with a wavelength of kilometres to millimetres covers the broadest wavelength range in the electromagnetic spectrum and. like optical radiation, passes through the atmosphere almost unhindered. While optical radiation mostrly originates from the surface of stars, radio radiation mostly originates from gas between the stars, relativistic electrons and from the Big Bang. It is almost undisturbed by dust and therefore allows us to have a clear view of our Galaxy and others and to peek deep into their centres. This specialized course will focus on the role of radio astronomy in our understanding of the Universe, from probing hydrogen gas and stellar evolution to investigating energetic processes in quasars and the cosmic microwave background radiation as the remnant of the Big Bang.
Here is the:

Course Syllabus (html)

Evaluation Scheme:

Breakdown of Final Grade


Total (%)

In-class quizzes







Professor Norbert Bartel (Course Director)
Room 331 Petrie Science and Engineering Building

Tel: 416-736-5424
E-mail: bartel@yorku.ca

Class Schedule:

Lectures: Monday
  1:45 pm - 3:00  pm
Location: Petrie 317A

Special Dates:



First class

October 2



Co-Curricular days
 October 26- 29

Last class

December 4


December 4


Office Hours

Come by my office and see whether I have time, or
  Mondays and Wednesdays 15:00 15:45:
Room 331 Petrie Science and Engineering Building

Required Text:

No required text, but see syllabus

Alternate Texts:

Course Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Fundamentals of radiation in radio astronomy

  4. The physics of radiation processes

      Black body radiation
       Synchrotron radiation
       Spectral line emission

  5. Neutral hydrogen gas

      in the Milkyway
        in galaxies
        in the cosmos

  6. Ionized hydrogen gas and molecular clouds and their role in star formation

  7. Supernovae and pulsars as the end stages of stellar evolution
                  Radio emission from supernovae
                 Radio emission from pulsars

  8. Superluminal jets emanating from black holes in the centres of galaxies and quasars
                Superluminal motion

  9. The CMB as a tracer of the earliest time of the evolution of the Universe 
             The spectrum of the CMB

                 Temperature anisotropies
                 Relationship to the Big Bang

                                          Course Syllabus (pdf)

Send comments to: bartel@yorku.ca

Indicate in the subject line: PHYS6210