Introduction to Astrophysical Radiative Transfer

    Course notes  (2015, 140 pages)
    Course notes  (1995, scanned, 140 pages)
    Shorter summary  (1993, 42 pages)
    Original in Dutch  (1991, scanned, 187 pages)

This is an introductory course on radiation and spectrum formation in astrophysics.  Formerly it was called “Generation and Transport of Radiation”.  I gave it yearly during 1985 - 2007 to second-year bachelors students (341 in total) at the former Sterrekundig Instituut of Utrecht University.  It treats the basics of astrophysical radiation production and transfer, with the solar spectrum as key example.  It covers the material in the first chapter of Radiative Processes in Astrophysics by Rybicki & Lightman, but much more extensively.  The rest of Rybicki & Lightman is summarized in a chapter on photon processes.

My numerical exercises Stellar Spectra A “Basic Line Formation” and Stellar Spectra B “LTE Line Formation” accompanied this course.

I wrote the course notes in Dutch during 1988 - 1991.  They were translated computer-aidedly into English by Ruth C.  Peterson (Santa Cruz) in 1992.  She did a splendid job, but the result was somewhat constrained by the Dutch input and the computer output.  I therefore started to rewrite these notes in less computerish English in 1993, adding computer-drawn rather than hand-sketched figures, but I completed new drafts only for chapters 2 and 3.  The 1995 edition was a hardcopy version of “Generation and Transport of Radiation” made by Dan Kiselman at Stockholm by inserting printout of the two new chapters into a photocopy of Ruth's translation.  I scanned this version as well as the Dutch original in 2011 on my last day at the near-dead SIU and posted them here.

The first link above is a new pdf produced in 2015 by Luc Rouppe van der Voort at Oslo.  He latexxed Ruth's files, mine for for Chapters 2 and 3, applied corrections, and inserted figures and sketches by cut-and-paste from the scan.  At present this edition still lacks the references, appendices, and answers to questions of the Dutch version, but these should come soon - whereas a complete rewrite remains on my long-term to-do list since 1993.

In 1993 I also wrote a short Introduction to Solar Spectrum Formation, including my new figures, for summer students at the US National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico.

In 1995 I summarized this course in the second chapter (“Basic Radiative Transfer”) of my masters-level course Radiative Transfer in Stellar Atmospheres.

The definition of the collisonal destruction probability was wrong in the older versions.  In 1997 I wrote an essay Epsilon about this mistake, honoring astrophysicist Richard N. Thomas.