2018-2019 / SPAT0008-1

Interstellar medium


20h Th, 10h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in space sciences (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Damien Hutsemekers, Yaël Nazé


Yaël Nazé

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

With stars, the interstellar medium is the main constituent of galaxies. It is there that stars and the planetary systems are born; it is there that products of the nucleosynthesis are deposited during the final phases of the stellar evolution. This course will be divided into two parts. The first one analyses the physical processes at work in the gas phase and the generation of the nebular spectrum. The observational determination of the physical parameters (temperature, density, abundances) is also studied. Lastly are evoked the dynamics of nebulae, in particular the shocks, bubbles, supernova remnants and expansion of the ionization front. The second part of the course adresses the case of the interstellar dust, its nature, its formation and its destruction as well as its effect on the observation of stars and galaxies.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

This course makes it possible first of all to identify the principal components of the interstellar environment and then to include/understand the basic physical principles which control it.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

10 theoretical lessons and two exercise sessions (about 2h/lesson)- if only one student, the lessons are replaced by personal work supervised by the teachers.

Recommended or required readings

For the "gas" part, notes in French or reference books in English will be made available (depending of the langage used). For the "dust" part, a copy of the slide show will be given to students. A reference bibliography will also be provided. Notes are available on ecampus, books in the library or in the teachers' offices.

Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

By default the course is taught in English but could exceptionnally be taught in French if all students require to do so. The course is available every two years (2017-2018, 2019-2020...)


Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics, Bat B5C, 2nd floor

- Damien Hutsemékers 04 366 9760, office #2/11, hutsemekers@astro.ulg.ac.be
- Yaël Nazé 04 366 9720, office #2/12, naze@astro.ulg.ac.be