Graduate School

Modern astrophysics

This course is part of the programme:
Physics (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

The goal of the course is that students learn about objects and areas of contemporary astrophysical research: from formation, evolution, and end stages of stellar evolution, to larger systems, such as galaxiesand clusters of galaxies. Students learn about contemporary theoretical and observational methods of research of astronomical objects on very different space and time scales, and upgrade!their critical thinking abilities. Acquired knowledge and review of the key modern astrophysical projects and research trends will enable them to place their work in a broader context and gain competences for future research career planning.



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems, fundamental astrobiology.
  • Astrophysical transients and end stages of stellar evolution; supernovae, gamma ray bursts, white dwarfs, pulsars (magnetars), black holes.
  • Galaxies through cosmic time; formation, evolution, dynamics, clusters of galaxies.
  • Contemporary astrophysical methods and instruments.
  • Review of the most important contemporary astrophysical missions and projects.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will acquire knowledge on a series of topics in contemporary astrophysics. They will learn about new and improved standard methods and principles of astronomical observations and about progress in theoretical modelling of astrophysical phenomena. They will develop understanding of different types of astrophysical objects, which are in the focus of contemporary research. By learning about current open issues and current and up-coming astrophysical missions and projects they will gain insight in the development in different astrophysical research areas, which will help them in their future research career planning.


  • R. Kippenhahn, A. Weigert: Stellar Structure and Evolution, Spinger Verlag, 1994.
  • Philip J. Armitage: Astrophysics of Planet Formation, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • I. Gilmour, M. A. Sephton: An Introduction to Astrobiology, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Maurice H. P. M. van Putten, Amir Levinson: Relativistic Astrophysics of the Transient Universe, Cambridge

University Press, 2012.

  • Malcolm S. Longair: Galaxy Formation, Springer, 2008.
  • C.R. Kitchin: Astrophysical Techniques, Institute of Physics Publishing, 2005.
  • Q George H. Rieke: Measuring the Universe, A Multiwavelength Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Pregledni članki sodobnih astrofizikalnih misijah in projektih (npr. Swift, Kepler, Gaia, LSST, JWST idr.)

(Review papers on contemporary astrophysical missions and projects, e.g. Swift, Kepler, Gaia, LSST, JWST etc.)


50/30/20 Students will be evaluated based on: i)!oral exam (50%), ii) presentation of their individual project work (30%),and iii) participation in discussions (20%).

Lecturer's references

Full professor of Astronomy at the University of Nova Gorica.


University course code: 3FIi27

Year of study: 1


ECTS: 12


  • Lectures: 40 hours
  • Exercises: 20 hours
  • Individual work: 300 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english/slovene

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures • independent project work including reading of the contemporary research literature and a presentation of results to other students in opendiscussion under supervision of the lecturer responsible for the course. • consultations • journal club – discussion of published research articles on selected astrophysics topics.