Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso

Radiative Transfer

  • Daniel RouanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1336


Radiative transfer is the theory describing how electromagnetic radiation is created, transmitted, absorbed, and scattered in a medium such as a planetary atmosphere, stellar photosphere, or interstellar medium. The medium can emit, absorb, and scatter radiation with a behavior that could vary strongly with wavelength according to the different species composing the medium and their physical state.


In astrophysics, if we except the objects of the solar system visited by probes, the intrinsic properties of a celestial object must be derived from the only available information: the observed radiation. To interpret the spectrum that is emerging from the atmosphere of a planet, an interstellar cloud or from the outer layer of a star, called the photosphere, it is necessary to model not only the production of radiation at any point of the medium but also the way it is locally absorbed or scattered in any direction. The emerging radiation, which the observer will collect,...


Radiative processes Opacity Scattering 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Chandrasekhar S (1960) Radiative transfer. Dover, New YorkzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Gray DF (2008) The observation and analysis of stellar photospheres. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Rutten RJ (2002) Radiative transfer in stellar atmospheresGoogle Scholar
  4. Sobolev VV (1975) Light scattering in planetary atmospheres (trans: Irvine WM). Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Thomas GE, Stamnes K (1999) Radiative transfer in the atmosphere and ocean. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LESIA, Observatoire Paris-Site de MeudonMeudonFrance