Fundamentals of Radio Astronomy : Astrophysics book cover
1st Edition

Fundamentals of Radio Astronomy

ISBN 9781498725774
Published May 14, 2019 by CRC Press
360 Pages 13 Color & 124 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

As demonstrated by five Nobel Prizes in physics, radio astronomy has contributed greatly to our understanding of the Universe. Courses covering this subject are, therefore, very important in the education of the next generation of scientists who will continue to explore the Cosmos.

This textbook, the second of two volumes, presents an extensive introduction to the astrophysical processes that are studied in radio astronomy. Suitable for undergraduate courses on radio astronomy, it discusses the physical phenomena that give rise to radio emissions, presenting examples of astronomical objects, and illustrating how the relevant physical parameters of astronomical sources can be obtained from radio observations.

Unlike other radio astronomy textbooks, this book provides students with an understanding of the background and the underlying principles, with derivations available for most of the equations used in the textbook.


  • Presents a clear and concise discussion of the important astronomical concepts and physical processes that give rise to both radio continuum and radio spectral line emission
  • Discusses radio emissions from a variety of astronomical sources and shows how the observed emissions can be used to derive the physical properties of these sources
  • Includes numerous examples using actual data from the literature

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Propagation of Radiation

Chapter 3. Continuum Emission Processes

Chapter 4. Spectral Lines

Chapter 5. The Cold Interstellar Medium of the Milky Way

Chapter 6. HII Regions and Planetary Nebulae at Radio Wavelengths

Chapter 7. Radio Emission from Stellar Objects

Chapter 8. Galaxies at Radio Wavelengths

Chapter 9. Radio Galaxies and Quasars

Chapter 10. Cosmic Microwave Background


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Ronald L. Snell is a professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research interests include the physical and chemical properties of molecular clouds, star formation, and molecular outflows; he also has extensive experience observing at radio wavelengths. He earned a PhD in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Stanley E. Kurtz is a professor of radio astronomy and astrophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. His research interests include massive star formation, the interstellar medium, and radio astronomy instrumentation and techniques. He earned a PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Jonathan M. Marr is a senior lecturer of physics and astronomy at Union College. His research involves high-resolution, radio-wavelength observations of radio galaxies and the Galactic center. He earned a PhD in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley.


"Since the detection of HI at 21 cm wavelength and the discovery of CO in dark clouds, radio astronomy has been a central tool in studies of the interstellar medium and star forming clouds. This has been even more true with the advent of cm and mm interferometers, and the more recent availability of the EVLA and ALMA has transformed the study of circumstellar disks and of outflows. This two-volume set of introductory textbooks provide the essential foundation for students who plan to use radio observations in the study of molecular clouds, HII regions, and star formation. While one volume focuses on the instrumentation, telescopes, and observing methods of radio astronomy, the other deals with the astrophysical processes that give rise to radio emission. All three authors have taught radio astronomy courses, and the books are organized with questions and problems after each chapter. The books are also equipped with extensive appendices with supporting material that focus on background and technical information."

The Star Formation Newsletter No 323, November 2019

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