SPACE PHYSICSAcademic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: Giulio MANICO'
Expected Learning Outcomes
This course intends to present to students the state of the art of observational, theoretical and experimental research about some of the most relevant processes of interaction of the solid and gasseous components among themselves and with the radiation field in the Interstellar Medium; special attention will be focused on the processes of formation and destruction of some molecular species that play a fundamental role into helping the gravitational collapse and hence regulating the formation rate of stars and in turn the structure and dynamics of galaxies. Special attention will be also devoted to laboratory simulations of processes taking place in the Interstellar medium, that in recent years allowed to put on a firm Galilean ground the whole matter.
In particular, and with reference to the so-called Dublin Descriptors, the course aims to provide the following knowledge and skills.
Knowledge and understanding abilities
Knowledge of the main phenomenological aspects related to the Interstellar Medium and understanding of their physical implications and their mathematical description, in order to develop an ability to reflect on scientific issues in a way that presents traits of originality.
Applying knowledge and understanding ability
Ability to recognize the main physical laws that govern an astrophysical phenomenon, and to apply them to solve problems and exercises in different fields and at different levels of complexity, and therefore of approximation, with the use of appropriate mathematical tools.
Ability of making judgements
Ability to estimate and calculate the order of magnitude of the variables that describe an astrophysical phenomenon. Ability to discern the level of importance of a physical law. Ability to be able to evaluate the Physical Model and the corresponding Mathematical Model that best apply to the description of an astrophysical process and therefore to the solution of quantitative problems.
Ability to present scientific concepts belonging to astrophysics but also, and more generally, information, ideas, problems and solutions with properties and not ambiguity of language, at different levels and to different, both specialists and non-specialists, audiences.
Ability to learn the scientific concepts of Astrophysics, necessary to undertake subsequent studies with a high degree of autonomy.
The course will take place through lectures.
Required PrerequisitesBachelor's degree in Physics, during which the following knowledge was learned: classical mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, optics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, atomic structure, molecular structure, structure of solids, radiation-matter interaction, computer programming, fundamentals of numerical analysis.
Attendance of LessonsAttendance at the course is usually compulsory:
Detailed Course Content
1 – The Interstellar Medium (ISM)
Observational evidences of the presence of the ISM – Distribution of the ISM in the Galaxy – Multiphase
strutture of the ISM – Dense and molecular clouds – Diffuse clouds – Intercloud Medium – Coronal gas – Cooling and heating processes in clouds.
2 – Interstellar Gas
Observational evidences – Composition – Atomic and molecular components – The most important species: H, H2, H2O, CO, CO2 etc. – Polyciclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – Fullerens.
3 – Interstellar Dust
Observational evidences of the presence of interstellar dust grains – Abundance of dust – Composition – Size distribution of interstellar grains – Morphology – Icy mantles on grains - Importance of the presence of dust – Formation sites of interstellar grains.
4 – Molecule formation in the gas phase
Taxonomy of gas phase reactions according to their rate constants - Dissociation processes induced by UV photons in the diffuse medium and by energetic particles in the dense one – Numerical modeling of the chemical enrichment of clouds.
5 – Gas-dust interaction
Physisorption and chemisorption - Mobility of adsorbed species - Dust grains as catalysts – Mechanisms of heterogeneous catalysis - Experimental techniques of investigation of reactions catalyzed on grain surfaces - Main results.
6 – Interaction between cosmic rays and interstellar dust grains
Short description of cosmic rays – Propagation inside the Heliosphere – Interaction of fast ions with solids – Experimental techniques for the investigation of physico-chemical processes induced by cosmic rays.
7 – Interaction among stars and the ISM
Stroemgren spheres – Generation and propagation of shock waves in the ISM.
- A.G.G.M. Tielens: The Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium, Cambridge University Press (2005).
- T.J. Millar and D.A. Williams (eds): Dust and Chemistry in Astronomy, CRC Press (2019).
- V. Pirronello, J. Krelowski, G. Manicò (eds): Solid State Astrochemistry, Kluwer (2003).
- Slides projected in class.
|A.G.G.M. Tielens||The Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium||Cambridge University Press||2005||----|
|T.J. Millar and D.A. Williams (eds)||Dust and Chemistry in Astronomy||CRC Press||2019||978-0-7503-0271-5|
|V. Pirronello, J. Krelowski, G. Manicò (eds)||Solid State Astrochemistry||Kluwer||2003||978-1-4020-1559-5|
|1||The Interstellar Medium (ISM)||1, 4|
|2||Interstellar Gas||1, 4|
|3||Interstellar Dust||1, 2, 4|
|4||Molecule formation in the gas phase||3, 4|
|5||Gas-dust interaction||3, 4|
|6||Interaction between cosmic rays and interstellar dust grains||4|
|7||Interaction among stars and the ISM||4|
Learning Assessment ProceduresThe exam takes place in oral form and covers all the topics of the program.
Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises
(The questions below are not an exhaustive list but are just a few examples)
Observational evidences of the presence of interstellar dust grains.
Icy mantles on grains.
Taxonomy of gas phase reactions according to their rate constants.
Numerical modeling of the chemical enrichment of clouds.
Mechanisms of heterogeneous catalysis.
Experimental techniques of investigation of reactions catalyzed on grain surfaces.