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Astrophysics Processes
The Physics of Astronomical Phenomena


textbook Award Winner
  • Author: Hale Bradt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107677241

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About the Authors
  • Bridging the gap between physics and astronomy textbooks, this book provides step-by-step physical and mathematical development of fundamental astrophysical processes underlying a wide range of phenomena in stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astronomy. The book has been written for upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students, and its strong pedagogy ensures solid mastery of each process and application. It contains over 150 tutorial figures, numerous examples of astronomical measurements, and 201 exercises. Topics covered include the Kepler–Newton problem, stellar structure, binary evolution, radiation processes, special relativity in astronomy, radio propagation in the interstellar medium, and gravitational lensing. Applications presented include Jeans length, Eddington luminosity, the cooling of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the Sunyaev–Zeldovich effect, Doppler boosting in jets, and determinations of the Hubble constant. This text is a stepping stone to more specialized books and primary literature. Password-protected solutions to the exercises are available to instructors at

    • Contains many excellent tutorial diagrams, and mathematical derivations are carefully worked out, so readers can easily follow the materials
    • Contains exercises, with solutions available to instructors online
    • Emphasis is on fundamental processes, including radiation processes
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    • Winner of the 2011 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for an academic book

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The author's engaging writing style makes this a very enjoyable book. Each topic starts with interesting observational material, then goes to a discussion of the physical concepts, amplified by mathematics, and very good figures, and then ties it up by finishing with more observational applications, either solving the problem posed at the beginning of the chapter or presenting new ones. This is a perfect book for seniors.' Marc L. Kutner, author of Astronomy: A Physical Perspective

    'A lucid introduction to a selection of basic topics in astronomy, explaining the physics behind the astrophysics. Radiative processes are treated with just the right level of rigor that students learn how to carry out useful computations while developing their physical intuition. I have successfully used portions of this book for my first-year graduate class.' Eugene Chiang, Associate Professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley

    'This excellent book takes 12 areas of astrophysics, starting with Newton and Kepler and ending with gravitational lensing and sets out the underlying physics in clear fashion. … Highly recommended.' Guy Pooley, The Observatory

    Review of Astronomy Methods, also by Hale Bradt: '… a brilliant addition to the pedagogy. It is timely, focused, well written, and at the appropriate level … Astronomy Methods will be useful to all students of astronomy and astrophysics, irrespective of whether they intend to specialize in observational astronomy. The material can be adapted easily for various related courses, which makes the book even more valuable.' Physics Today

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107677241
    • length: 534 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Kepler, Newton, and the mass function
    2. Equilibrium in stars
    3. Equations of state
    4. Stellar structure and evolution
    5. Thermal bremsstrahlung radiation
    6. Blackbody radiation
    7. Special theory of relativity in astronomy
    8. Synchrotron radiation
    9. Compton scattering
    10. Hydrogen spin-flip radiation
    11. Dispersion and Faraday rotation
    12. Gravitational lensing

  • Resources for

    Astrophysics Processes

    Hale Bradt

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    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Astrophysics
    • Intro to Modern Astrophysics
    • Introduction to Astronomy & Astrophysics
    • Topics in Astronomy and astrophysics
    • Topics in Modern Astronomy
  • Author

    Hale Bradt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Hale Bradt is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his forty years on the faculty, he carried out research in cosmic ray physics and X-ray astronomy and taught courses in physics and astrophysics. Bradt founded the MIT sounding rocket program in x-ray astronomy, and was a senior or principal investigator on three missions for x-ray astronomy. He was awarded the NASA Exceptional Science Medal for his contributions to HEAO-1 (High Energy Astronomical Observatory), the 1990 Buechner Teaching Prize of the MIT Physics Department, and shared the 1999 Bruno Rossi prize of the American Astronomical Society for his contributions to the RXTE (Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) program. His previous book, Astronomy Methods: A Physical Approach to Astronomical Observations, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2004.


    • Winner of the 2011 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for an academic book

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