Instructor: Eduardo L. Martin




Phone: 1-808-956-8167


Class Location and Times:

Tuesdays and Thursdays 15.30--17:30 pm from 15 January to May 8, 2002.

Default location is Fern Room but some classes may be held elsewhere.


Grading Policies:

There will be an otional closed book final exam in the finals week.

Class participation, presentations and homework will be taken into account for the final grade. The minimum requirement to pass the course is to make a professional journal style review paper on a subject to be agreed between the student and me, and to give a half an hour public presentation on it. The length of the paper should be about 15 pages in referee format with a maximum of 3 figures.




1. Overview of the Interstellar Medium (ISM).



1.1. Classification and Location of the ISM.


1.2. Dark Matter .


1.3. ISM Chemical Evolution.


2. The ISM across the electromagnetic spectrum.


2.1. UV-Optical-NIR.


2.2. Radio.


2.3. Gamma, X-rays, and cosmic particles.


3. The Interstellar Radiation Field.


3.1. Basic Definitions.


3.2. Radiation Transport.


3.3. Line Absorption and Emission.


3.4 Continuum Radiation.


4. Conditions of the Interstellar Gas.


4.1. Ionization of Hydrogen.


4.2. Formation and Dissociation of Interstellar Molecules.


4.3. Heat Balance.



5. Interstellar Dust.


5.1. Evidence for Dust.


5.2. Optics of Dust Grains.


5.3. Formation and Destruction of Grains.


5.4. Physical Properties of Grains.


6. Dynamics of the ISM


6.1. Local Distribution and Cloud Structure of the Dust.


6.2. Density and Cloud Structure of the Neutral Hydrogen in the Solar Neighbourhood.


6.3. The Neutral Hydrogen on the Large Scale.


6.4. Large Scale Distribution of HII regions and Molecular Clouds.


6.5. Gaseous Galactic Halo.


7. Star Formation


7.1. Conditions and Location of Star-Forming Regions.


7.2. Fragmentation and Collapse. Jeans Criterion.


7.3. Early Solar Nebula. Protostars.


7.4. Accretion and Outflows.


7.5. Proto-Brown Dwarfs and Protoplanets.


7.6. Star Formation Efficiency.


7.7. The Initial Mass Function.


7.8. Early Star Formation.




The Physics of the Interstellar Medium

J. E. Dyson and D. A. Williams, The Graduate Series in Astronomy (R. J. Tayler & M Elvis, eds), 1997 (Second Edition)




Physics of the Galaxy and Interstellar Matter

H. Scheffler and H. Elsasser, Springer-Verlag 1982



Physical Processes in the Insterstellar Medium

L. Spitzer Jr., Wiley 1978



Supplementary References:


Astrophysical Concepts, Third Edition,

M. Harwitt, Springer-Verlag, 1998


Star Formation Near and Far

S.S. Holt and L.G. Mundy (eds)

AIP Conference Proceedings 393, 1996


Cosmic Dust

P.G. Martin, Clarendon Press, 1978


The Fullness of Space

G. Wynn-Williams, Cambridge University Press, 1992